FAU’s three provost candidates talk what they plan to improve

The position oversees academic programs like the university’s 10 colleges and its campus libraries.


Provost candidate Sacha Kopp speaks with a faculty member in the Administration Building conference room. Photo by Alexander Rodriguez

Alexander Rodriguez, News Editor

With the start of summer, the search for who will oversee FAU’s academic programs is drawing to a close.


Following provost Gary Perry’s resignation, the university conducted a national search for his replacement. And last week, the three final candidates visited the Boca campus to share what they can bring to the table.


Each provost led a town hall open to faculty, staff, and students running from April 30 to May 2.


If hired, they’ll direct all of Academic Affairs. This includes its budget, personnel, 10 colleges, as well as “related areas” like campus libraries and the undergraduate studies office.


The three provost hopefuls are:


  • Bret Danilowicz – College of Arts and Science dean at Oklahoma State University
  • Sacha Kopp – College of Arts and Science dean at the State University of New York at Stony Brook
  • Laura Steinberg – College of Engineering and Computer Science past dean, special assistant for Strategy at Syracuse University


Danilowicz started things off Monday, speaking to a packed room of 50 faculty members.


“I must admit. I love to fundraise,” Danilowicz said in the Administration Building conference room. “It’s who I am as a person.”


He shared that he wanted to increase the four-year graduation rate and balance the number of men and women in higher ranking positions.


“I want to work with great people. [Deans] are great people and they need to be empowered to do their jobs and to do it well,” Danilowicz said. “My job as provost is to facilitate the success of the college deans.”

Provost candidate Bret Danilowicz waits to be introduced before speaking with FAU faculty. Photo by Alexander Rodriguez


During the second town hall, Kopp discussed his plans to an equally packed room.

He said he looks to ensure student diversity, encourage students to take summer classes, and raise money for the university.


Kopp added that he also wants to build trust between himself and the faculty.


“I try very hard to make myself known to the faculty,” Kopp said. “I want to make good decisions.”


The final candidate, Steinberg, pitched increasing graduate school funding, as well as improving online courses, the research division, and the scholarship program.  


Her current job at Syracuse involves overseeing their online courses, which she wants to continue at FAU.  


“I do think classes taught fully online need to be carefully composed and created,” Steinberg said.


She emphasised that faculty might have a different teaching method online than in person, and she wants to make sure that isn’t the case.


Steinberg also wants to meet with the deans of each college to discuss decisions she’d make as provost.


Now, FAU will review the candidates one last time before making a decision in early summer 2018.


Check back with the University Press for updates.   

Alexander Rodriguez is the news editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet @AARodriguezz93.