On Oct. 28, Sacred Heart University announced Dr. Robin Cautin, previous dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, as the newest provost after a nationwide search.
“The search committee came up with a short list, I asked for a ranking from the faculty, and right out of the box, 76% voted her number one,” said Dr. Petillo, president of Sacred Heart. “She’s very progressive, very much engaged, got a lot of energy, and entrepreneurial, which is something I want in a person as we continue to grow.”
While Cautin was dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, she helped establish a multitude of programs in both the undergraduate and graduate programs.
According to the Sacred Heart website, this included social work, public administration, psychology, communication & public relations, journalism & media production, neuroscience, biology, and more.
“I see Sacred Heart continuing to grow in prominence, locally, and nationally,” said Cautin. “Some of our immediate priorities pertain to managing the University’s continual growth, but our response reflects our institution’s vitality and success.”
“One of our biggest challenges is the landscape of higher education is growing increasingly competitive, but I believe we are well equipped to remain competitive despite the changing environment.”
Not only was she able to gain herself a high position by her own ability, but Cautin is also representative of female leadership at Sacred Heart.
“I think that it’s an amazing thing that a woman got chosen and I feel represented,” said senior Gabriela Dos Santos, Student Government president.
“We weren’t looking for a woman to fill this position and it happened to be that she was the best candidate to fill this position, which makes it even better. It sends the message ‘Keep working hard and doing your best and be passionate about what you do and eventually everything will pay off.’”
Although Cautin was able to gain such a great role as provost of the university, some students are still not completely aware of what a provost is.
According to the Sacred Heart website, “After the president, the provost is the senior member of the University’s executive leadership team and serves as strategist, advocate, manager and spokesperson for academics.”
Some students feel that the university should take steps to educate their students more about the administration of the school.
“I think it’s very important that students know what a provost is,” said Dos Santos. “The provost is what’s going to spearhead the university and organize how we’re going to move as a group. It’s kind of like politics, but in our own Sacred Heart world.”
“It should be an effort going both ways though, so if the university is just throwing stuff at you, you might not take that, but if the university is not giving out information, then it’s not going to work either. Maybe we could do a quick Q & A in the forum and get to know the provost and what they do.”
With the new provost bringing changes to the school, some students would like to see more diversity and representation at the university.
“As a person of color, I would love to see some more minority representation on-campus,” said junior Trent Miller. “I am unaware of how many school leadership positions are held by students who are BIPOC, but it would be comforting to me that someone with shared experiences has a leadership role at Sacred Heart.”
While some agree that Cautin will do well as the new provost of the university, many are excited to see what changes arise from her new position.
“I think she’s going to do very well, I think she may ruffle a few feathers, which is fine, but I think it’s all going to be driven by the need to move the goalposts down and what not,” said Petillo.
“10 years ago, we used to be a safety school where kids would go when they couldn’t go anywhere else, but that’s not the case anymore. We’re first choice now and if that’s the case, she needs to be effective and to be able to strengthen that.”