Message from the Provost

ACROSS THE COMMONS > Spring 2011 issue

Provost Sherman

Provost William M. "Mike" Sherman

Student success is our success:
Let's build the 'Akron Experience' for our students

EVERY DAY, I am struck by the vibrancy that is The University of Akron.

This vibrancy is created by you — the people who are The University of Akron — and amplified by the buildings and grounds that have been transformed by the New Landscape for Learning initiative.

Some of you have heard me say that People + Place = Community, and I am convinced that as we work together to create a community that offers exceptional experiences for our students, faculty and staff, we will create the Akron Experience, and it will differentiate us from other universities and become our distinguishing value proposition.

Focus on people

In my short time here, my focus has been and will continue to be on the people side of the above equation — our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community stakeholders.

Provost Sherman

Provost Sherman meets with the Graduate School.


By the end of fall semester, I had met with all of our colleges, most academic support units (vice presidential units) and many student organizations and student leaders. Our conversations were thoughtful and honest as we discussed what we need to do to enhance our community:

  • improve student success, retention and career satisfaction upon graduation;
  • provide greater support for faculty teaching, research and professional development;
  • support staff career development and progression; and
  • engage strategically with our community.

Early in my tenure, I reviewed the organization that supports the academic agenda and discussed it with others. I then proposed to President Proenza and received approval from the Board of Trustees to create the Office of Academic Affairs (formerly the Office of the Provost) that will, on behalf of faculty and students, focus its energy, resources and capacities on the academic mission. In other words, the OAA will stimulate and enable academic excellence.

Initial priorities

As presented by President Proenza in his State of the University address, my initial agenda is centered on revenue, retention (student success) and reorganization.

As I met with the colleges, deans and VPs last fall, we discussed the organization and operation of the University to determine if other structures, organizational perspectives, budgeting methods or funding initiatives would accelerate and enhance trans-disciplinary teaching, research and service.

Provost visits College of Nursing

Martha Conrad, director of the Learning Resources Center in the College of Nursing, makes a point to Provost Sherman during a tour of the Learning Resources Center Simulation Lab.


As I seek to achieve the agenda entrusted to me by President Proenza and the Board of Trustees, I will communicate with you regularly and openly.

Together we will embark upon strategic doing to achieve our vision of The Akron Experience — for our students, ourselves, and our community — thereby creating for each and every individual, “Your Akron Experience.”

This is a good day at The University of Akron and with your help, we will make it a great day!

William M. "Mike" Sherman
Senior Vice President and Provost, Chief Operating Officer
Office of Academic Affairs


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