First two provost candidates announced

Kohli and Burke are the first two candidates that have been announced. The remaining two candidates are set to visit virtually in the beginning of May.


As the semester is winding down, the search for the next UNI Provost is just heating up.

Following the news that Provost Jim Wohlpart will leave UNI in June to become the next president of Central Washington University, the Provost Search Committee has spent the spring semester reviewing applicants. Now, they are ready to welcome the four finalists to the UNI campus, albeit virtually.

Two candidates have so far been announced, with information on the other two to come next week.

The first candidate, Vandana Kohli, Ph.D., participated in a virtual public forum at 2:30 p.m. on April 28. Kohli serves as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at California State University, Channel Islands.

According to Kohli’s letter of introduction, available on the provost search website (, she holds a doctoral degree in quantitative sociology and has taught courses in demography, social services, public health, the African diaspora, research methods, demographic theory, quantitative sociology and cultural geography.

Since 1991, Kohli has worked at “small, medium, and large universities” throughout the California State University system. She has experience in program development and review, as well as budget administration and grant writing, and has held many administrative positions, including chair and vice-chair of the Faculty and Academic Senate and Graduate Program Coordinator.

“I like working with people to arrive at decisions because I believe that different, diverse perspectives actually improve outcomes,” she wrote. “Most colleagues characterize my style as consultative but I appreciate that leadership is expected to make decisions after listening to the input of all stakeholders.”

The second candidate, Kelly Burke, Ph.D., will participate in a virtual public forum at 2:30 p.m. today, Thursday, April 29. Burke is the current vice provost and ean of the Graduate College at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

According to Burke’s letter of introduction,  she is a professional clarinetist who has performed for 30 years as Principal Clarinet of the Greensboro Symphony. She has experience in music performance, music pedagogy and academic leadership, and was involved with several program launches and redesigns at UNC-Greensboro, including the merger of the School of Music with the Departments of Dance and Theatre.

“My leadership embraces the tenets of shared governance, which in turn embodies the shared pillars of academic freedom and academic responsibility,” she wrote. “I have a well-established history as a visionary leader who knows how to engage stakeholders. I have a reputation for getting things done with creativity, integrity, strong listening skills, and gentle humor.”

The remaining two candidates will visit virtually on May 3-4 and May 5-6. Information about each will be made public 24 hours before their visit.

The Northern Iowan will not provide coverage of the rest of the candidates, as today’s issue concludes our printing for the 2020-2021 academic year. However, the new editorial staff plans to publish an article in the fall introducing the new provost, who will assume office on or before August 2021.