Diversity is new Provost's focus
April 15, 2009 6:43 PM
Dr. Sue Rosser, SF State's new provost beginning this fall, will take the reigns from current provost John Gemello and work to create as diverse a campus as possible.
The position of provost, second only to the president, will give Rosser control over all things academic at the university. She plans to use that power to increase gender parity within fields and expand SF State's research projects.
"After the president, the provost sets the tone for the entire university," Rosser said in a phone interview from her current location as Dean of Ivan Allen College at Georgia Tech University. "I have been working hard to attract a diverse pool of students into science and engineering."
Rosser mentioned that she plans to extend that work to all of the colleges at SF State.
"The provost hires the deans, who hire the chairs, who hire the faculty, who have immediate and important daily interactions with the students," said Rosser. "I want to learn from the faculty about new and exciting programs and continue SF State on the positive trajectory set by the current provost."
Provost Gemello has no doubt that Rosser will be able to seamlessly step into his position and work toward building the best academic institution possible.
He plans to help Rosser the best way he knows how: by handing over an excellent a staff. "There is not a weak link in there," said Gemello of his faculty and administrative staff.
The deans of SF State's nine colleges answer directly to the provost, along with administrators such as the vice presidents of research and sponsored programs and academic program development. Rosser plans to work closely with her staff to maintain and improve SF State's mission to increase diversity and social responsibility.
"Diverse people and teams make the best collaborators, because when people have had different backgrounds and experiences, they are going to know different things. They are going to see the world in different ways and therefore that's the most creative way to solve problems," Rosser said.
That's a value that Rosser believes in, and "a value at SF State which is pretty important."
She said this is one of the reasons she sought the position.
President Robert Corrigan, who hired Rosser, said that part of his decision was because of that match in values. "We talk all this time of social justice and equality," Corrigan said adding that he wanted to hire someone with past experience and action, not just talk.
"The president and the provost need to have a leadership that the faculty can respond to, a vision of what the university should be like, and a plan about what the future of the university will be," Corrigan said.
Rosser has not only that leadership and vision, but can "balance idealism with a sense of responsibility" needed in tough economic times, said Corrigan.
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