Provost and V.P. for academic affairs: Chuck Staben
Megan Card: Why did you first apply to work at USD?
Chuck Staben: I wanted to work at USD because of its broad liberal arts tradition, and for the excellent programs offered at the university.
MC: What were some aspects of USD that you wanted to focus on as provost?
CS: I mentioned when I first interviewed for the job that a priority needed to be the university’s retention rate and success of all students. (USD) still has room for improvement in retention, especially for other students who aren’t first-time, full-time – the adult learners.
MC: Explain what you do as provost.
CS: When the circus comes to town, the president of the university is the one who rides the elephant, and the provost is the guy behind the elephant carrying the shovel (laughs). But in all seriousness, the provost is an intellectual leader on campus who handles much of the administrative duties. I oversee almost everything but the health sciences.
MC: What is the best part of your job?
CS: The best part of my job is being able to help students or faculty with the actions I take.
MC: What is the worst part?
CS: Probably the lack of direct contact sometimes between me and students and faculty.
MC: What are you focusing on right now as provost?
CS: Right now, I am pretty engaged in space analysis efforts around the university. It is a concrete process, and we are looking at how we can better utilize our space on campus.
MC: What kind of advice would you give to incoming students next semester?
CS: I have two pieces of advice. First, simply do what you need to do, and this experience will work out. We admitted you, so you can succeed; you just need to make sure you show up. My second piece is about self-efficacy; have the belief you are capable of getting a quality education from USD.
MC: So, what do you do in your free time in Vermillion?
CS: For recreation, I play racquetball at the Wellness Center, and I ride my bike. I have a 40-mile bike route I like to take on weekends.
MC: Do you have a favorite eatery in Vermillion?
CS: I really don’t go out to eat a lot. RED (Steakhouse) has been a nice addition, but most of the restaurants around Vermillion are pretty good.
MC: Do you have any odd hobbies?
CS: About three years ago, I started marbling paper and binding my own books. I always liked old books, and many of these old books used the marbled paper. My kids end up using the books or the marbled paper for like greeting cards.
MC: What kind of music do you jam out to?
CS: I have a really poor taste in music, just standard popular rock. I actually found out that I have a signal auditory defect, so I have a hard time listening to complex music.
MC: Have you read any good books lately?
CS: I have read through a collection of Gillian Flynn books, like “Gone Girl.” I’ve always really enjoyed