(Host) The University of Vermont has a new president. He’s Daniel Fogel. Fogel is currently vice chancellor and provost at Louisiana State University. Fogel began his academic career at LSU in 1976 as an English professor. He is the fourth UVM president in the last decade.
VPR’s Steve Zind talked with Fogel shortly after his appointment was announced.
(Zind) The University of Vermont is dealing with budget problems, a newly unionized faculty and a controversial strategic planning process. Fogel says he’s attracted to the job because of these challenges:
(Fogel) “There are certain institutions I wouldn’t want to go to because they’ve already achieved 97% of their goals. UVM is an institution with a great potential to advance and a great foundation to build on.”
(Zind) Fogel says UVM has a clear sense of where it wants to go, but hasn’t made the hard decisions necessary to get there. Scaling back or cutting programs has been a controversial issue at UVM. But Fogel says the university needs to make choices about which programs to devote resources to. Fogel says the process is already under way at Lousiana State:
(Fogel) “We have over 70 academic departments. We have identified a dozen of those as priority programs. They’re not the only programs that matter to us. They’re not the only ones that we support. But they are programs that we think by canny investment can be taken past tipping points. Our hope is that when that happens, they’ll take the whole institution past the tipping point.”
(Zind) Fogel acknowledges the difficulty of making changes at large state universities because of their complexity and competing interests. UVM’s last President, Judith Ramaley, was forced from office. She endured a vote of no confidence from faculty, a well publicized hockey hazing incident and dwindling support from the university trustees. Fogel thinks his experience will be different.
(Fogel) “I think it’s a combination of having the right leadership and the right moment. I think there’s a lot of issues at UVM that have ripened in the hearts and minds of members of the UVM community, that are going to make a greeting of the spirit between that community and the right kind of leader. Something that can accomplish things now that were not as easy to accomplish in earlier administrations.”
Fogel will visit the UVM campus this week. He’ll assume the presidency in July.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.