As the University of Wisconsin reaches the home stretch in its search for a new provost, candidates began their final public presentations on campus Monday with Robert Blouin, dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Pharmacy.

The presentations aim to give students the chance to ask questions of the finalists. When the candidate asked if any students were in attendance among the faculty members, none identified themselves.

Blouin, who spoke at Grainger Hall, opened his talk by quoting the “Sifting and Winnowing” plaque at the entrance to Bascom Hall, where the Office of the Provost is located.

“I think you should keep in mind that the next provost should not only understand the meaning of those words, but he or she must fully understand the spirit of those words,” he said.

He said public research universities like the University of Wisconsin and the University of North Carolina are great places for personal and societal growth, because so many people, from professors to taxpayers, support the university in different ways.

Blouin said he has a progressive view of teaching and leading, inspired by the outlook of new generations of students.

“I believe that we have a responsibility and also an opportunity to take a fresh look at how we teach this next generation of learners, taking full advantage of the talents and the skills that they come to us with,” he said.

The new provost will replace Paul DeLuca, who has served the post since 2009 and will step down at the end of the academic year. There will be three more presentations throughout the week by the other finalists: Julie Underwood, Sarah Mangelsdorf and Katherine Newman.

[Photo by Flickr user okandasan]