An email was sent to students, faculty and staff on Feb. 24 from the Office of the Provost, announcing Jerry Baldasty as the person to fill the interim provost position. As former provost Ana Mari Cauce fills the role of interim president after Michael Young’s departure to Texas A&M University the trickledown effect of filling administrative positions continues.
64-year-old, Spokane native, Gerald (Jerry) Baldasty has held the position of senior vice provost for Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Washington Seattle since 2012. He has been a long standing member of the UW community, for over 40 years, as a faculty member since 1978 and before that as an undergraduate and graduate student. Baldasty’s accomplishments include being a Distinguished Teaching Award recipient in 2000, holding the the position of Chair of the Department of Communication from 2002 to 2008, and last but not least being the dean and vice provost of the graduate school at UW Seattle. Looking at all of Baldasty’s accomplishment, he is not new to administrative roles. And for Baldasty the role of Interim in a leadership position is nothing new either. Baldasty served as interim dean and vice provost before accepting the permanent position back in 2009 after serving as interim for around seven months.
In the statement sent out via email, Cauce spoke very highly of Baldasty, saying, “One of Jerry’s best qualities is his true interest in faculty and staff input and his ability to incorporate ideas into action effectively. He is a candid communicator who exemplifies transparency, mutual respect and honesty.” Cauce went on further to use her experience as provost and Baldasty’s talents to further explain his suitability for the position. Cauce said, “In my years as provost, I have found that genuine concern for the issues facing faculty and students is essential, which is why Jerry is perfect for the job—an open ear and swift action are Jerry’s core strengths.”
Baldasty officially became the interim provost as of March 3. Prior to the effective date Baldasty said in a statement, “Education has provided tremendous opportunity to me, and that is our goal for the UW—to work with our faculty and staff to provide that opportunity to all of our students.”
The search on the UW Seattle campus for permanent administrative staff to fill the positions of provost and president continues. Yet in the case of Baldasty and the provost position specifically, history shows he has retained the interim positions he’s been placed in. That in mind the UW community will still have to just wait and see if it becomes a permanent placement. For now though, as Cauce said in her statement to students, faculty, and staff, “Please join me in welcoming Jerry Baldasty as the University of Washington’s interim provost.”