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Provost finalist wants to ‘push and prod’

Check out how it all started here – Search for new provost begins

With experience as a professor, department chair and dean at Cal State Fullerton, provost finalist Anil Puri wants to make Cal State Long Beach a cutting edge, innovative campus.

With enough funds for faculty members to research applicable topics, Puri believes CSULB will gain a reputation and begin setting trends with faculty members who are involved in research projects. Students will be better at analyzing and using their knowledge because of these professors.

“Research brings us credibility,” Puri said.

A public forum took place on Tuesday afternoon at the University Library to discuss Puri’s goals if he were selected as the next CSULB provost. About 100 faculty members and several administrators and students attended Puri’s provost-elect speech.

Puri earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in economics at the University of Minnesota and joined the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at CSUF in 1977, according to the CSUF Web site.

As an expert in economic forecasts, policy analysis, economic impacts and environmental issues, Puri said he is ready to analyze CSULB’s fiscal depression.

“State legislators haven’t held their promise to fund the universities,” Puri said.

As second in command to President F. King Alexander, Puri said he would “keep pressure on the state legislators” by showing them how much the university has progressed and how alumni are improving community standards.

According to Puri, being involved with the community will also enhance CSULB’s reputation, and that will lead to additional funding.

“We need to find revenues from private donations, grants from government organizations and private companies,” Puri said.

In 2006, Puri raised more than $50 million for the CSUF Mihaylo Hall building through private donations. His campaign also raised money for scholarships and academic programs, according to the CSUF Web site.

Puri said it will take him six months to a year before he can start making changes and improvements on campus. Puri will begin to make improvements by “sharing [his] thoughts” with faculty and administration.

“Change starts with having a common purpose,” Puri said.

CSUF does not have a provost position and has one vice president. He said he preferred CSULB’s system to having one administrator making decisions.

“I think this campus works well as far as collaboration,” Puri said.

At CSULB, there are two vice presidents and the provost acts as the senior vice president. Puri said he is excited about the provost position, which he believes gives the university more possibilities for setting a high standard as a reputable campus.

As a CSUF dean, Puri assisted in recruiting a diverse faculty and staff while working to get faculty members resources. He also advised students during their first month on campus and regularly followed up on their progress.

“The success of the dean is the success of the provost,” Puri said.

As a CSUF dean, Puri discussed many of his goals with faculty to get their input and revise proposals to meet their interests. He said he understands that input from all levels is important.

“I’ll do what needs to be done,” Puri said. “I’ll push and prod.” 

Read about the other finalists, Garnett Stokes and Donald Para.

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