VP of Innovation Frank, Interim Provost Franken

Mariah Valles, Online Editor

New Interim Provost Lynn Franken.

On July 15 Lynn Franken began her tenure as the university’s interim provost, replacing former Provost Katherine Frank. Appointed by President James L. Gaudino, Franken is the former Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College at Thiel College. She will continue as the interim provost until a long-term provost is selected after a national search. 

According to CWU’s website, Franken was one of several candidates suggested by The Registry. The Registry is a national organization with over 500 higher education executives who are available on an interim basis to assist universities. 

“As a longtime academic administrator, I have found the best results occur when there is mutual trust and mutual regard built into the process of working together,” Franken said in a release on the university’s website. “I look forward to working collaboratively with the faculty, staff, and students at Central to help set a course for the future direction of the university.”

The day following spring commencement, June 10, President Gaudino sent an email to employees stating Frank would no longer be the university’s provost, effective immediately. 

No reason for the change in staff has been divulged. The university said a national search for a new provost would begin immediately. 

Frank became CWU’s provost in 2016 after being the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Northern Kentucky University (NKU). Prior to working at NKU, Frank was the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indiana University East. She was also the Chair of the English and Foreign Languages and the Writing Program Administrator at Colorado State University-Pueblo for 10 years, according to the CWU website.

Former CWU Provost Katherine Frank.

Gaudino sent a follow-up email on June 13 in which he said, “Dr. Frank has agreed to move into the position of Vice President for Academic Innovation.” 

According to his June 13 email, Gaudino said the position includes Frank helping the university prepare for the future and remain competitive. Frank will conduct research regarding academic innovation, aligned with future institutional growth plans and respond to the rapid changes within higher education. 

Neither the June 10 or June 13 emails provided an explanation for why Frank is no longer the provost. On June 11 a spokesperson for CWU said they would not discuss personnel issues regarding Frank no longer being the provost. Former Provost Frank has not responded to emails and messages requesting interviews. 

“I would like to thank Dr. Katherine Frank for her excellent work as Provost and Vice President of Academic and Student Life and for her dedication to the success of Central Washington University for the past three years,” Gaudino wrote on June 13. 

He went on to talk about Frank’s accomplishments during her tenure as provost. Some include opening a new instructional site in Sammamish, producing a comprehensive report examining the strategic process by which the university might pursue Hispanic-Serving Institution status and several others.

Gaudino thanked Frank again for her willingness to step into the role of Vice President for Academic Innovation, a position he said will help CWU plan for the future. 

“Dr. Frank is uniquely qualified for this role and passionate about how institutions like CWU continue to provide access for students, serve our regions, and influence the direction of public higher education,” Gaudino wrote.