By Andrea Sisney
Webster University entered the Spring 2011 semester with three administrative positions to fill. Last week Webster invited students, faculty and staff to attend open forums for both the associate provost for planning, policies and operations and the chief communications officer/associate vice president for communications and strategic marketing.
The associate provost search committee, chaired by Dean Benjamin Akande, reviewed more than 25 resumes and chose Nancy Hellerud as the candidate to bring to Webster as part of the search process. Hellerud, currently the interim dean for the school of business at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, would be the first person in Webster’s history to hold the newly-created associate provost title.
The forum, which took place in the Sunnen Lounge on Jan. 12, focused on introducing Hellerud to the university and assessed her ability to serve as chief of staff to the provost. The associate provost would answer to Provost Julian Schuster directly and help develop and implement initiatives.
“I’m really interested in working across schools and programs,” Hellerud said. “What I’m interested in is moving forward with all the pieces together.”
Hellerud, who studied English and German at Hamline before receiving a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law, said she believes her experience practicing law gave her a transferable skill set that would be useful in the associate provost position.
Before coming to Webster, Schuster was the dean of Hamline’s school of business where he worked with Hellerud. Schuster declined to comment on Hellerud’s candidacy at this point in the search process.
Along with the associate provost position, Webster is also seeking to fill the positions of chief communications officer and chief financial officer. Both are vice president positions that will answer directly to university President Elizabeth Stroble. Starting Wednesday, Jan. 12, the chief communications officer search committee brought five candidates to campus to participate in open forum interviews.
On Friday, Donna DePond-Heroux spoke to Webster faculty and staff about her visions for brand management and marketing communications. DePond-Heroux, who is currently the executive director of creative services and marketing for Washington University’s medical center, received her MBA from Webster.
“Webster allowed me to realize my potential,” DePond-Heroux said. “It’s important to convey (Webster students’) stories, and get those stories out through social media, print and other mediums.”
Along with three administrative positions, Webster is seeking six full-time staff members for the St. Louis home campus, including a new assistant director of accounting and an assistant bursar. Media relations specialist Susan Kerth said the current search for several new administrators and faculty does not indicate a trend in employees leaving Webster or anything out of the ordinary.
“It might be a little unusual,” Kerth said. “But it’s just a coincidence of timing.”