Jason Pressley

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University is in the final stages of its search for a new provost, who will also serve as the executive vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.

Current Provost Debra Boyd is stepping down from her position at the end of June. She will become a full-time faculty member in the English department after a year-long sabbatical.

Kinyata Brown, assistant dean for diversity and student engagement, said the provost “essentially acts as a number-two” to President Dan Mahony.

Candidates from all over the country applied for the position and the field has been narrowed to a final four.

The finalists include Dr. Melanie Hatch, associate provost at Albany State University in Georgia; Dr. Adrienne McCormick, dean of Winthrop’s College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Jie Chen, dean of the Graduate School at James Madison University; and Dr. Robert “Bud” Fischer, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences at Middle Tennessee State University.

The four candidates visited Winthrop last month to meet with administrators, faculty and students.

Brown said she coordinated luncheons between the candidates and students, in order to involve them in the process.

“That’s an opportunity for the candidate and the students to learn more about each other,” said Brown.

Breonica Robinson, a criminology major who attended one of luncheons, said the event encouraged an honest discussion between the candidates and students.

“The provost selection process has been really inclusive of Winthrop students and student leader’s opinions,” said Robinson. “Especially by being able to have one-on-one time with the candidates.”

Administrators have sought feedback from students and faculty on each candidate.

“This plays a key role in the next steps of the process,” said Brown.

Shelia Burkhalter, vice president for student affairs, and Justin Oates, vice president for finance and business affairs, co-chaired the search committee that included faculty, staff, students and graduate students from across campus, according to a press release.

The university has not said when a final decision will be made or announced.