11/5/2015 Provost Search_Richard Koubek

Dean of Louisiana State University's College of Engineering Richard Koubek speaks to the audience on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 in the Design Building.

As the semester nears its end, former College of Engineering dean Richard Koubek moves to the upper echelons of LSU administration after he was named as the university’s new executive vice president and provost last Wednesday. Koubek was one of four finalists vying for the position.

Koubek competed against West Virginia University’s Michele Wheatly, University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ John Valery White and Northeastern University’s John Murray Gibson for the coveted spot. He served as LSU’s interim executive vice president and provost after Stuart Bell vacated the office in June 2015.

Despite the everyday challenges that come with the second most powerful university position, Koubek boiled the necessary qualifications down to two simple criteria.

“You understand psychology and you can pray,” Koubek said in his Nov. 5 public forum.

With an academic career spanning 23 years, Koubek is no stranger to leadership roles.

From 1997 until 2001, he worked at Wright State University as both professor and chair for the Department of Biomedical, Industrial and Human Factors Engineering and associate dean for research and graduate studies for the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Following his time at Wright State, he moved to Pennsylvania State University where he served as a professor and head of the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering from 2001 until 2009. After leaving Penn State, Koubek transferred to LSU, serving as the dean of the College of Engineering from 2009 until 2015.

Koubek spent the past seven years recruiting potential students for LSU. Then, he said he grew to appreciate LSU for its four “treasures”: leadership, a strong sense of community, the ability to function as a living laboratory and the sense of balance among the different fields of study.

“That balance is why I personally feel so at home,” Koubek said during the forum.

Senior Vice Provost Jane Cassidy said she enjoyed her professional relationship with Koubek for the past five months.

“He knows the campus well from the inside, which will allow him to hit the ground running with some new initiatives,” Cassidy said.

According to LSU’s Office of the President website, the executive vice provost’s responsibilities include maintaining the “development, growth and quality of all academic programs and related support functions.” The provost’s duties include the “articulation of an academic vision, leadership in academic strategic planning, the development and administration of academic budgets and the advancement of excellence in teaching, scholarship and service for the LSU flagship institution.”

LSU Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope said he is pleased with Koubek’s appointment as he believes Koubek has demonstrated “more in the few months that he’s been in office ... than the previous four or five administrations.”

Cope said Koubek engaged in successful fundraising efforts for the College of Engineering and extended a helping hand to LSU satellite locations, particularly toward the Shreveport campus.

Cope said the Faculty Senate expects Koubek will create a broad spectrum of programs to bring all of the LSU System campuses together in the “intellectual project.”

“[Faculty Senate] is thinking that Provost Koubek is both going to contribute to the substance of the university project and also to overall morale,” Cope said.

In his time as interim executive vice president and provost, Cope said Koubek demonstrated both faculty friendliness and visionary potential regarding LSU’s future. He said Koubek is the most accessible provost “of the recent era.”

“He is well known for being collaborative in his approach, which has earned him great respect from internal and external constituents,” Cassidy said. “We are ready to move forward.”

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