In the first of five open forums featuring finalists for the post of University of Idaho provost and executive vice president Monday, David Rosowsky touted his 30 years of experience working in higher education.

Rosowsky, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Vermont, concluded six-years as UVM’s provost and senior vice president in 2019 and said the positions — and the school’s themselves — have a lot in common.

The UI describes the post of provost and executive vice president as the university’s chief academic officer.

“At Vermont, the senior vice president and provost was a very comparable position — I had responsibility for all of academics, all of budgets, all of research, all of enrollment management (and) all of communications and marketing,” Rosowsky said. “I played a leadership role in the comprehensive campaign, led budgets, corporate foundation relations, multiple capital projects and hired 24 senior leaders in my time as provost.”

Rosowsky holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Tufts University in Massachusetts as well as a doctorate in the subject from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. He said he began his career in academia in 1990 as a faculty member and later found his way into leadership roles. Having worked at many himself, he said he has a deep understanding of the mission and priorities of land-grant and flagship universities.

“I love the post of provost,” he said, adding he felt compelled to vie for an opportunity to serve in the capacity at a university that has bold academic and research aspirations and is committed to student success and access.

“Those who know me well in my leadership at the university but also nationally from my public speaking know of my profound respect for our nation’s land-grant and public research universities,” he said. “ ... I would argue that never before has the role of our great, publicly supported universities — teaching and research and service — been more important or more needed.”

Before his time at UVM, Rosowsky was dean of environmental engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and before that, the head of Texas A & M’s department of civil engineering. He said serving in leadership roles in three very different universities made it necessary for him to develop an inclusive leadership approach, saying it takes time to engage, listen and reflect before setting priorities or taking action — or as he put it “ to seek input, synthesize positive plans, seek feedback and continue that cycle.”

“I think ownership of any strategic plan has to be shared — they’re shared goals, shared strategies and ultimately shared successes,” Rosowsky said. “To do that you need early buy-in, which means you need communications outward (and) often, messages need to be concise and they need to be consistent.”

The UI’s next candidate, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President of University of California, Riverside, Thomas Smith, will have a virtual forum at 2 p.m. today, followed by current UI Interim Provost and Executive Vice President Torrey Lawrence at the same time Wednesday.

An unnamed candidate will be featured Thursday and Friday’s forum will feature Andrea Golato, dean of the graduate college at Texas State University.

Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to sjackson@dnews.com.

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