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Meet the Provost: Dr. Van Reidhead

SC Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, February 10, 2011

Updated: Friday, March 25, 2011 13:03

ESU has seen a lot of change this school year, and one of those changes is the addition of a new faculty member. The university has welcomed Dr. Van Reidhead as its new provost. Dr. Reidhead has taken the first semester of this year to get acquainted with the university, his position, and living in Pennsylvania. Not only has this been a year of change for many of us, but it has been for Dr. Reidhead as well. Part of this adjustment includes organizing his new office in Reibman.

Wait – do we know where Reibman is? It's that brick building on the corner of Prospect and Normal. Wait – do we know what a provost is? Thankfully, Dr. Reidhead is able to explain his position.


According to the Provost himself, his main duty is to act as chief academic officer. This title includes insuring the quality of education for students, which entails insuring the professional development of faculty. There are other details associated with the Provost position but all of them are to work towards the main goal of providing a good education for students.


Like all of us, Dr. Reidhead has goals for this academic school year, and his big one is to simply learn about ESU. This includes meeting with all sorts of people and attending many different events in order to develop a sense of what ESU is involved in. This involves a lot of listening, but a person in the provost position also has to take action and make decisions.


A project Dr. Reidhead is working on right now was inspired by a request brought to him by student government to have the deadline changed for the submission of grades. This has led to meetings with the deans, department chairs, faculty unions, student affairs, and enrollment management in attempts to come to the best decision for everyone. That project is still in the works.


"Allowing for adjustment" seems to be Dr. Reidhead's motto for this school year, but he says the adjustment is going well. That goes for his personal life as well. Dr. Reidhead and his wife moved to Pennsylvania from Texas – where Reidhead was previously employed at the University of Texas Pan-American. He worked there for five years as the Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Before that, he spent 29 years working at the University of Missouri – St. Louis holding positions including Chair of the Faculty Senate, Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Director of the Center of Human Origin and Cultural Diversity.

Anthropology is a huge passion for Dr. Reidhead. In the little spare time he has, he is working on a book about the plant foods of the ancient Native Americans of Eastern North America.


Living in different regions has exposed Reidhead to many different cultures, and he hopes to bring that knowledge and experience to this university, a school that is proudly diverse.


Dr. Reidhead hopes to be able to relate to the students and their needs here at ESU. Along with his wife, Reidhead raised eight children and saw each of them through their education. "Each of them went through it differently. No two of them went through it the same way," says Reidhead. "Their crises were all different. Their abilities were all different. Their passions were all different." In his family alone, he has seen a lot in terms of education.


Dr. Reidhead works closely with deans, department heads and faculty, so he doesn't have the opportunity to see students very often, but he wants everyone to know that he is doing everything in his power to help East Stroudsburg University do the best job it can in preparing its students for the world.

A full length video interview with Dr. Reidhead will be coming soon to the Stroud Courier's website along with the University website. Be on the lookout for more information on your new Provost.

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