Missouri Western State University has been through a vast number of changes ever since its transition from a state college to a university in 2005. A more recent major change involved the departure of the man who held the title of provost for the last three years.
Joseph Bragin is now no longer a part of Missouri Western’s team. Once again the roster changes. For now Jeanne Daffron is serving as interim provost and vice president for academic and student affairs and interim dean of graduate studies. Daffron has held this position before, so in this time of change, the reigns are not in the hands of those who do not know the road ahead.
“It is busy time, but we are doing fine,” Daffron said. “It is very helpful that I have been here a long time. I know people. When you know who you can call and who you can count on for their support or their help to get what you’re trying to get done; that helps a lot.”
Bragin announced his retirement June 30, which was in effect July 1.
“He made the decision to retire,” Daffron said. “He didn’t want fanfare, didn’t want parties and he worked until his very last day.”
President Robert Vartabedian echoes Daffron’s statement.
“He chose to retire,” Vartabedian said. “We wanted to respect his wishes, he didn’t want a lot of fanfare. He wanted to basically let the university know the evening of the day he left. Which was June 30.”
President Vartabedian expressed regret that they could not give Bragin a better send off.
“I told him that certainly we would like to handle things differently and he said ‘No, no, I am not interested in that.’ and he worked very hard until his last day,” Vartabedian said. “Even on his last day he worked the long hours and then he said ‘after I am gone, you can go ahead and make an announcement, and we did.”
On July 1, the Saint Joseph News Press reported that “after 50 years in academia, he’s not calling it quits all together —He said he’s got “feelers out” for higher education administrative positions on the West and East coasts.”
So now that the position is open, where does Western go from here? It could be that we don’t have to look very far.
“Jeanne has been with us for over 30 years,” Vartabedian said. “She knows the administration inside and out. She understands the campus both internally and externally. She is a proven entity; people really like working with her.”
When considering the position, the president has met plenty of staff that have voiced their own opinions.
“I thought in terms of a national search but several people on the faculty said don’t waste the time when we have such a perfect candidate right here at home.” Vartabedian said. “Depending on what the board has to say it could go in that direction.
“I have gone around and talked to various groups about who to put in the position.” Vartabedian said. “In the interim and possibly in a permanent position. We have our next board of governors meeting soon and I am ready to talk to the board about that at that time.”
Vartabedian said Western might have a finalized recommendation at that point after he talks to the board Aug. 27.
Bragin came to Western in 2006 from Marshall University in West Virginia. During his time at Western, he helped develop the university’s first graduate programs. Daffron took over as interim provost July 1.