Provost's Blog: What It Means To Be Interim

Posted on August 19, 2015 by Rick Koubek, Interim Vice President and Provost

Interim is a Latin word that translates in the English language to meantime. What a bemusing word…meantime. It’s a word that implies something to the effect of “for the moment,” or “for now.” If used in a sentence, one might say: In the meantime, we will wait for the game to begin. But, you and I very well know that the game clock is always ticking at LSU.

With that as a prelude—I introduce myself to you all as LSU’s interim executive vice president and provost. Prior to this most recent appointment, I served as dean of the College of Engineering, but for now I am on temporary duty in the Office of Academic Affairs. I consider it a privilege and honor to serve LSU’s students, staff, faculty, and the president in this position as the University conducts a national search for its next provost.  

During a recent interview, I was asked—what is your vision for the university as interim provost.   Admittedly, I paused for a moment and asked myself, should an interim provost even have a vision?   But, quickly recovered with the reply, “It’s not my vision, but rather the University’s mission that guides my decisions each day and sets the expectations of its leadership, faculty and staff.”  

Soon, the time will come when the permanent provost will need to work with the president and university community to shape the vision for our university, but for now, my approach is rather simple. I will make mission driven decisions that are in the best interests of our students, faculty and staff. I plan to advance a few concrete initiatives that can be completed in the short-term. For starters, we will convene a committee to review and respond to faculty senate resolution 14-11, and create a shared funding model with colleges who introduce programs that align with the university mission and also generate new income to the university.

Finally, I do freely admit to taking the liberty of my time as interim provost to make headway on a longstanding dream of seeing LSU as the international leader in exploring collaboration between the arts/humanities and the sciences/engineering. In an increasingly competitive world, our ability to provide students with an education that blends the boundaries of art, humanities, science and engineering exemplifies the true meaning of a well-rounded education—which is fundamental to our mission at LSU.