James "Cid" Seidelman Appointed Provost
The newly expanded position of provost and vice president for academic affairs at Westminster is enormously important,” said search committee member Diane Forster-Burke when discussing one of the college’s most recent and exciting appointments. “This key individual not only oversees all academic programs, with deans from each school reporting to him, he is now responsible for Westminster’s IT programs, the library, student services, student government, residential housing, and athletics. The umbrella is very broad, so I must say we are thrilled that after six months of searching and meeting a range of fascinating and highly qualified people from all over the country, we came to the consensus that Cid Seidelman is indeed the perfect fit.”
Forster-Burke explained that the committee, comprised of faculty, staff, and a member of the board of trustees, evaluated 57 candidates, assessing their qualifications in several key areas. The list included: experience at least at the dean’s level; time involved in education, including classroom time; communication skills; experience with fundraising; and working experience with information technology. “The ideal candidate had to be exceptional in every area—and, a good fit with President Bassis,” added Forster-Burke.
The search committee also had to discern the candidate’s more intangible qualifications. “Given the intense demands of the job, we were also looking for a sense of humor,” said Forster-Burke. “It’s such an important component, but unfortunately, it’s not always a given. Cid is both warm and funny. He made sure to remind us that that the college would ‘save on moving costs’ if he got the position.”
In fact, it almost seems as though Seidelman was custom-built for the job. He joined Westminster in 1980 as an economics instructor and over the years has served as director of the economics program and director of the MBA program. For 13 years he served as dean of the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business, all the while gaining great respect from his colleagues and peers. Most recently, Cid held the position of interim provost and was also deeply involved in the creation of the college’s 10-year strategic plan, the blueprint for Westminster’s future.
One of Seidelman’s defining experiences was overseeing the $7.7 million expansion of the business building into the Gore Center for Business, Aviation, and Entrepreneurship. He cites the entrepreneurial and innovative management techniques pioneered by Bill Gore, founder of W. L. Gore and Associates (inventors of Gore-Tex), as both a personal model and a model for the school. In his work as a committed leader, Seidelman has also been a consensus builder and has gained the trust of faculty, staff, and students.
“I couldn’t be more pleased that Cid has agreed to become provost,”Westminster President Michael Bassis remarked. “In each one of Cid’s assignments, his contributions to the college have been remarkable. I have no doubt that record will continue.”
As provost and vice president for academic affairs, Seidelman will juggle a long list of weighty priorities as he oversees implementation of the initiatives detailed in the college’s 10-year strategic plan. Among many other goals, these include working with faculty to bring on new academic programs, such as a new Master of Science in Nursing Education and a major in Arts Administration; supporting the introduction of a new MBA program design to be launched in fall 2005; working with the School of Arts & Sciences to incorporate Learning Communities for all freshmen in fall 2006; implementing the assessment plan to realize Westminster’s college-wide learning goals, and working with the President and Advancement staff to realize the college’s capital project plans, including the completion of the Health, Wellness, and Athletic Center and the initiation of the new science building.
“Overall,” Seidelman said, “my job is to play a key role in facilitating innovation across the college. We’re very focused on students’ success and we are bullish on the future. It’s an exciting time to be in this position. I’ve spent almost my entire professional life at this college,” Seidelman recently said. “It is more than a place I work; it’s a part of my life. It has, in many ways, shaped who I’ve become.”