Provost candidate speaks on collaboration and assessment


Elizabeth Mauch

The search for Northern Vermont University’s provost has been narrowed to four candidates. As one of those candidates, Elizabeth Mauch visited the JSC campus on Monday, March 13 to speak with students, staff and faculty.

Mauch holds a Ph.D. in mathematics and has worked as the dean of the College of Education at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania for nearly seven years. She has also been a faculty member in the mathematics department there since 1999.

“Your missions just speak to me,” she told the audience of Bentley 207 during Monday’s community colloquium. “This sense of experiential learning and learning by doing is something that I fundamentally think is very important . . . I have worked at Bloomsburg to ensure that our students have an opportunity to do that, and I just love that that’s part of your mission.”

During her time at Bloomsburg, Mauch spearheaded a STEM magnet program in collaboration with regional high schools. She also led the reaccreditation process for the College of Education, which consisted largely of reforming the school’s assessment system.

“To this day, we are using that assessment system,” she said. “We tweak it constantly, but we had a lot of success, and we did successfully regain our accreditation for the College of Education.”

JSC is currently facing a reformation of its own assessment system in order to comply with the NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) accreditation standards.

The NEASC evaluation team’s final report, which followed their November visit to the campus, stated that “the assessment process for academic programs is still incomplete and not routinely used for program improvement . . . Reliance on the VSC system of assessment as a substitute for JSC internal program assessment is a concern.”

These issues must be addressed by the school in the coming months in order to gain successful reaccreditation.

Throughout the colloquium, Mauch repeatedly mentioned the importance of communicating with everyone involved.

“I’d like to hear from all of you about some of your thoughts on what needs to occur over the next year,” she said. “If I am so privileged to be the successful candidate, it will be important to me, throughout this process, to hear from you, to communicate with you and to get your input.”

When asked about encouraging faculty of the two institutions to work together, she acknowledged that bridging could be a challenge when there have been so few opportunities for collaboration in the past.
“To me, step one has to be giving you opportunities and pathways to really go back and forth,” she said, continuing on to suggest annual events and small groups of combined faculty with a dedicated purpose.

In addition to the larger points, Mauch answered questions about distance education and telepresence, times she’s overcome adversity, and encouragement of professors’ scholarly endeavors while teaching. All of her answers supported the idea of working together and gathering ideas from as many sources as possible.

She closed out her talk with the same note of collaboration and communication that had carried throughout the colloquium.

“There will be days when the decision needs to be made and I will certainly do that, but I would like to get as much input from the faculty and from the staff as I possibly can,” she said. “They understand what it is they need to be doing to make sure we come out with something that is good for the faculty, for the staff and, most importantly, for our students.”

Everyone who met with Mauch is encouraged to give their feedback via a candidate evaluation form, the link to which was provided in a school-wide email on March 9, so that the provost search committee can get a sense of community reactions to each of the candidates.