From process to provost

The search for new provost David Nystrom took a full year, with many details taken into consideration.

Everyone around campus has heard the announcement: Dr. David Nystrom is the new Provost and Senior Vice President. This decision was not hasty or last minute.The yearlong search involved several people and committees to make the final choice.

Dr. Barry Corey and Professor Bruce Narramore co-led the search. Together they selected a group of faculty and staff to serve on the Provost Search Advisory Committee (PSAC). The committee developed a profile of what they were looking for in the new provost, and submitted names of people as potential candidates. The committee approached the search with an open mind, looking for candidates from both secular and Christian institutions.
Glenn Weingarth joined the team as a hired search consultant. He suggested candidates of his own, and began contacting any recommendations that seemed like potential fits. When a candidate expressed disinterest in the job or did not appear to be a good match, Weingarth would ask if they had any recommendations. Through this process of networking, hundreds of potential candidates were considered.

“First you cast out a wide net to stir up every possible candidate,” said Narramore. “Some people weren’t interested and others weren’t a right theological fit… But we found a number of good candidates, a few exceptional ones, and ended up with two very outstanding candidates.”

Once the search begins and grows big, it eventually has to grow narrow and more focused. Weingarth contacted Dr. Corey and Narramore when he thought candidates were not a good fit, and also when he found potential candidates.

“He was working nearly full time for a year,” said Naramore.

By early spring the list shrunk to about 50 potential candidates. Through the PSAC, Dr. Corey, Narramore and Weingarth continued to meet and narrow down the list. Dr. Corey met with many candidates that were high on the list. The winnowing process continued. Some people did not feel God’s call to this position, while others were not a right theological fit. Through lots of prayer, searching, and interviews, two candidates were chosen.

Weingarth had about half a dozen references for each. They both visited Biola and were asked to fill out an application. Nystrom was invited back for a second visit, more interviews were conducted with references, and everyone involved in the search held several discussions. Ultimately God led Dr. Corey to choose Nystrom, ending a year long process involving several faculty and hundreds of candidates.

“What made him stand out [is that] he’s very bright, and a widely read Christian scholar,” said Narramore. “He’s very relational and collegial.”

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