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Lenzmeier accepts Provost position at BVU

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Photo Courtesy of BVU Marketing & Communications

Photo Courtesy of BVU Marketing & Communications

Photo Courtesy of BVU Marketing & Communications

Madeleine McCormick, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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After an internal search for a new Provost at Buena Vista University (BVU), BVU President Joshua Merchant, and a committee of faculty and administrators, selected Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) and Professor of Biology, Dr. Brian Lenzmeier for the permanent position.

Dr. Lenzmeier has been serving as BVU’s Provost. His appointment follows the departure of Dr. Jim Salvucci, who left the university in December.

Merchant and Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Shawn Stone launched an internal search to fill the position, which oversees all academic budgets and programs on the Storm Lake campus, as well as online, sites and graduate programs.

“I’m excited about the future, and about having an opportunity to play a bigger role in that future for BVU,” said Lenzmeier. “I really like the thought of being in a position where I can help the institution grow.”

Lenzmeier says he enjoys working with Merchant and views the Provost position as a window of opportunity to do something different with his career that will benefit the school he calls home.

The job description, written by Merchant, called for someone who embodies a “keen sense of community, both internally and externally.”

Lenzmeier has been at BVU since 2003 when he began as a faculty member in the biology program. Lenzmeier currently teaches one 400-level biochemistry course, but doesn’t plan on returning to teaching until the 2019-2020 academic year.

“I’ve been doing this basically since December, and I still have a lot to learn,” said Lenzmeier. “I do intend to teach, not next year, but the following year. I can’t teach a lot, [sic] but what I’d like to do is teach a one credit general education course. I like teaching those courses because I get to know students from all over campus, and so I think that’s valuable for me as Vice President.”

As Provost, Lenzmeier will also play an integral role in strategic planning for the university. Strategic planning is driven by growth and diversifying opportunities for students with the implementation of new academic and extracurricular programming and amenities, according to Lenzmeier.

“A lot of what we’re doing is driven by growth. Growing student numbers, growing the campus, and [helping students] really find a home here at BVU,” Lenzmeier said.

Lenzmeier is excited to work side-by-side with Merchant to improve the the student experience internally and prospectively.

“He and I have different strengths. He is definitely big picture fundraiser, and I think I complement him well. I’m the scientist who… what I tell him is, ‘You come up with the idea and the money, and I’ll work with the staff, I’ll work with the faculty, and I’ll make it happen,” Lenzmeier said.

The underlying goal for the current administration is to increase retention on campus by giving them a great college experience and a home away from home in Storm Lake, according to Lenzmeier.

“Looking at this past school year, we had a situation where we brought in a lot of students who were from far away. And some of them have stayed and been very successful, and very helpful, but we also know when you do that, people are more likely to get homesick and they’re less likely to be connected to BVU if they’re far away from home,” Lenzmeier said.

Lenzmeier sees the Forum remodel as one way of giving students space of their own on campus that feels like home.

“The forum remodel is going to create an environment for students that they’ve never had here. They’re going to own some space here. This is no longer a conference space, you guys own it,” he said.

In a year with many new faculty, a new President, and new changes via strategic planning, Lenzmeier says the administration is concerned with retention because BVU lost more students this year than previous years. However, he stays hopeful about the upcoming years serving the campus community with Merchant.

“In some cases there’s been a perception that the sky is falling, that there’s been a lot of change, but change is not always bad. Change is good. Change is exciting,” Lenzmeier said.

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Lenzmeier accepts Provost position at BVU