Dean of STEM Finalist for NIU Provost

Martin Abraham, dean of the Youngstown State University College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, has been named a finalist for Northern Illinois University’s executive vice president and provost position.

Abraham will travel to Illinois this week for additional interviews with NIU’s search committee on April 2 and 3.

“They selected four candidates to interview on campus for the position. This is a regular part of the process that a university goes through when hiring a candidate,” he said.

Though Abraham submitted his application for the provost position several months ago and participated in an interview with NIU’s search committee, he stressed that neither party has made a final decision.

“I have not been offered any job at this point. I am just interviewing for a job. So there is no guarantee that this is going to work out either for them or for me,” Abraham said. “They have to decide who is the best fit for them, and I have to decide if this is a good opportunity for me. So you can think of it kind of like dating.”

Even if offered the position, Abraham said he has to consider several factors — as he plans to apply for YSU’s presidency.

“I need to weigh the possibilities of making this move versus the benefits or the potential to stay at YSU and continue to do what, I consider to be, good things on behalf of Youngstown State. I need to consider what could be other possibilities for me at Youngstown State. I plan to apply for the president’s job,” he said.

Abraham said that his time serving as dean has granted him expertise that qualifies him for both a provost and president position.

“As a provost, I would have similar responsibilities on a broader scale of things. I would have responsibilities across the entire university from program development to curriculum matters,” Abraham said. “From the president’s perspective, it is more of the nature of the public interaction that becomes the experience that I have to be successful on a presidential level. I spend a lot of time interacting with business leaders, community folks throughout the university.”

In the event that Abraham is offered NIU’s provost position and accepts, he will be the fourth administrator to depart from the university this year.

Eric Shehadi, student trustee, said the university can survive these administrative changes.

“I really like Dean Abraham. He’s done a really great job,” Shehadi said. “I think the university is still functioning even though we don’t have our top administrator — our president, and our provost is acting as our current president. … I think our university is a strong institution and can survive anything even many administrative changes at once.”

Abraham assured that his potential departure is simply a career move, and that it does not negatively reflect on his time at YSU.

“Youngstown State is a good university with a lot of good things happening,” he said. “This is, for me, an opportunity for a career potential move. It is really not anything that should be construed as negative about YSU. I have been very happy with Youngstown State.”