Chancellor's Office

Provost appointment


April 13, 2006

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Susan Martin to the position of Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor of Accounting.  Her initial five-year appointment will begin July 1, 2006, pending approval by the Board of Regents.

Dr. Martin has an outstanding record of accomplishment in a variety of academic and public service leadership positions.  She is currently Executive Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Accounting & Taxation at Grand Valley State University (GVSU).  Sue is an experienced professor of accounting, having served in that capacity at GVSU since 1988.  She has published research on taxation and related fiscal and accounting topics in professional accounting publications and has taught and lectured on these topics in England, Poland, Ukraine, and elsewhere.  She is an unusually accomplished public servant, having served the State of Michigan as Commissioner of Revenue (1985-88), Deputy State Treasurer (1981-84), and Assistant Auditor General (1976-80).  She has served five consecutive terms as Chair of the State of Michigan Hospital Finance Authority as well as in other senior advisory capacities for the State of Michigan.  A native of Michigan, Sue received her Ph.D. at Michigan State University (1988).

In her current position as Executive Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Grand Valley State University Dr. Martin has been a strong academic leader for a campus that has high aspirations.   Her references praise her academic leadership and her other personal and administrative skills and talents.   She has been an active partner in the growth of faculty and the development of new academic programs related to Grand Valley’s enrollment growth.  She is singled out for her strong partnerships and working relationships with faculty as the university attempts to move forward in quality and size.

Dr. Martin impressed many of us on campus with her personable yet direct style.  She also impressed the search committee in a variety of ways.  Examples of some the strengths the search committee highlighted in its summary include:

  • academic leadership
  • relevant experience in Michigan public higher education
  • strong commitment to public service
  • open communication style
  • data-driven decision-making resulting in more funding for academic needs
  • record of accomplishments in government and university leadership
  • enrollment growth experience
  • budget expertise
  • good understanding of the challenges facing metropolitan Michigan
  • high energy, high enthusiasm
  • international connections

There are some important similarities between the University of Michigan-Dearborn and GVSU, as well as some significant differences.  One of those similarities was GVSU’s stated goal to grow enrollment from 9,000 to 20,000 students while maintaining or improving the quality of the student body.  Most of us know that Grand Valley was successful in achieving these goals, and Dr. Martin was very much a part of that strategic process for the academic programs.  Dr. Martin knows what it will take for our academic programs to grow as she works with our deans and faculty and our enrollment management team to grow our enrollment from 8,500 to 12,000 over the next 8-9 years.  

I look forward to working with Dr. Martin during what will surely be an exciting time for the campus as we attempt to bring to fruition the strategic vision we share for the future of the campus.  I know that you will all join me in welcoming her this summer.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Professor Jim Gruber and all of the members of the Provost Search Committee.  The hard work and dedication of this group was evident throughout this process, and we owe them our thanks for bringing forth such a strong group of candidates.  They were well supported by Chuck Bunting from A. T. Kearney as the process moved forward.

Membership of the Search Committee:

  • James Gruber, Professor of Sociology (chair)
  • Deborah Smith Pollard, Associate Professor of English
  • Marilee Benore Parsons, Associate Professor of Biology and Biochemistry
  • Gail Luera, Assistant Professor of Education
  • Karen Strandholm, Associate Professor of Business Administration
  • Pravansu Mohanty, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
  • Ghassan Kridli, Associate Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
  • Paul Zionts, Dean of the School of Education
  • Robert Gassel, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Finance and Director, Financial Services and Budget
  • Stanley Henderson, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Life
  • Kris Day, Director of Student Activities & Programs
  • Michael Porter, COB '75, Vice President, DTE Energy

As we began the search process, I said that we wanted the very best candidates from a truly national search and at the same time emphasized the importance of attracting a diverse pool of candidates.  I am pleased to say that we had both.  We had strong and diverse candidates from across the country, and I am confident that we have been able to recruit the best person to serve as provost of our campus in the years ahead.

The position of provost is critical for the campus in so many ways: in helping to shape future academic programs, in working collaboratively with deans and faculty to improve the academic excellence of our programs, in helping the campus achieve the most beneficial possible allocations of resources within the academic program, and in participating in the collaborative and respectful process of governance and decision-making that we all aspire to on the campus.  I am confident that Sue Martin will be a remarkable success in all these ways and more.


Daniel Little