Meramec welcomes first-ever provost

Posted on 31 August 2016 by admin

Carol Lupardis takes the reins during an academic restructuring

By: Katie Hayes

Provost Carol Lupardis

Provost Carol Lupardis

Carol Lupardus began as Meramec’s first provost on June 13 — the same day a swarm of bees closed down the Physical Education building.

Lupardus said it was quite the start to her career at Meramec.

The former vice president of academic affairs has worked for St. Louis Community College (STLCC) since 2000, both at the Florissant Valley and Wildwood campuses. However, June marked the beginning of her career at Meramec.
Lupardus was approved as the Meramec provost by the board of trustees on April 6. STLCC previously followed the president model, but is currently transitioning to a provost model.

A provost combines the responsibilities of the campus president and vice president for academic affairs. They are the chief academic officer of the campus and report to the vice chancellor and chancellor of STLCC.

“I look forward to listening and getting to know the students well and being out on the campus,” Lupardus said. “I really want to embrace a culture of respect and embrace all that is high expectations, rigorous teaching and learning — but mostly I want to foster a campus climate of inclusion and a culture of respect. I say that not because that’s not already here, because I don’t know. I’m here to listen and learn.”

STLCC is currently undergoing major academic restructuring. Chancellor Jeff Pittman began in July 2015 and is the fifth chancellor in 10 years. Pittman made it clear in multiple open forums that he is here to stay.

The provost applicants underwent a rigorous interview process, which included interviews filmed at Forest Park. The interviews were filmed through Skype, so those not physically present could watch the interviews.

Candidates applied for a provost or associate provost position, but could not choose their campus.

“When I applied, you applied for the position of provost, and the chancellor and the vice chancellor were the ones that made the final decision as to which campus was suited for each successful candidate,” Lupardus said.

During the interview process, applicants were asked to define the role of campus provost.

“I see the campus provost as being an advocate for the campus, working with the district and working collaboratively across campuses,” Lupardus said.

The definition was developed as the chancellor and vice chancellor met with candidates.

“I see the provost as being extremely collaborative and working as a team with the provosts from the other campuses,” Lupardus said. “Also, I believe the role is going to be to work with our community partners, get out in the Meramec community area, Kirkwood and the surrounding areas, making sure that the Meramec campus continues to serve the community with which we reside, I think that’s really important.”

Since every STLCC campus moved to the provost model, the district still needs to adjust.

“The role of the provost is new to the district,” Lupardus said. “So we have to sort of be flexible. We’re all sort of treading new ground together, but I think it’s an exciting challenge to be in a leadership position where you’re working with other really strong advocates for student success, and I think it’s a challenge that we all are excited to take a part of.”

Lupardus is joining Meramec in the midst of an enrollment crisis, but she said her approach is to listen to students and their needs regarding STLCC.

“I’m excited to talk to the leaders of Campus Life to see what is the best way for me to meet with students,” Lupardus said. “I think making sure that I get out onto the campus and make myself available. This is a place where I hope students will come, and faculty and staff, to meet with me about a variety of things.”


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