Students and members of the Elon University community had the first opportunity to meet the first of three candidates for the next provost and vice president for academic affairs

Rebecca Kohn, senior vice provost at Arcadia University, spoke in a presentation to students and faculty Oct. 4. She said she is looking to expand upon the current Boldly Elon plan that is in place.

Kohn said through her experience as the senior vice provost at Arcadia University, she has experience with working to increase retention and supporting diversity education initiatives. 

Rebecca E. Kohn is one of the candidates for Elon University's next provost. Photo courtesy of Arcadia University.

Kohn said the president of Arcadia University in 2020 introduced multiple anti-racist initiatives, some of which she is still leading. The main initiative she has co-chaired deals with their hiring policies and making sure that their recruitment process is unbiased and inclusive. 

“How do we frame advertisement language so that people feel that they're welcoming our institutions, and also compiling lists of places where our search committees can post ads so they can enhance the diversity of the search,” Kohn said. “So that's been really rewarding work. It's always slower than I'd like it to be, but we're making progress there.”

Kohn was also asked by a faculty member how she planned on working to integrate the Elon community with the surrounding area. Kohn said she felt that the community should feel welcome on campus and that it is part of the responsibility of the university to do things that’ll benefit the community. She referenced her past work with Arcadia that led her to create a public art project, which is for the benefit of both students and the community.

“The Arcadia public works project, which brings in visiting artists each year and takes students out into the community for a project that will be maintained,” Kohn said. “The artist is going to be painting a mural in Cheltenham High School, which is across the street from Arcadia University and bringing students into the high school for that project.”

Elizabeth Sayrs, executive vice president and provost at Ohio University, will present Oct. 5 and Robert Aguirre, dean of the College of Arts and Letters at James Madison University, will speak Oct. 6.