President Richard Koubek Addresses Campus Concerns

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President Richard Koubek Addresses Campus Concerns

MTU President Richard Koubek

MTU President Richard Koubek

MTU President Richard Koubek

MTU President Richard Koubek

Maddie Steger, Editor in Chief

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Although he has only been in the office for six months, President Richard Koubek has made it clear that he is ready to get to work. As Michigan Tech’s tenth president, he has a lot on his plate and many people wondering what is to come for Tech.

As the president, Koubek cannot simply snap his fingers and get things done; there is a process that must be followed. “One of the key responsibilities of the university president,” stated Koubek, “is to protect and promote the value system of the institution. I make sure all the decisions made on campus align with the value system of the organization. We want students to come here and be able to graduate without any barriers put in front of them.”

He also works closely with the President’s Council, which is composed of seven different titles: Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs (Jacqueline Huntoon), Cheif Financial Officer, Vice President for Research (David Reed), Vice President for Student Affairs and Advancement (Les Cook), Vice President for University Relations and Enrollment (John Lehman), Athletic Director (Suzanne Sanregret), and the Secretary of the Board of Trustees (Roberta Dessellier). Currently, there is a search for a new Chief Financial Officer. According to Koubek, “they represent each of the key administrative pieces of the campus.”

It is no secret that Tech is predominantly a STEM campus, but students in the humanity department have been feeling neglected. Career Fair means next to nothing to them, their classes are geared for STEM students, and the registration process is harder since their required classes fill up with other students needing a general education class. However, Koubek brings a unique background to Tech: “My first degree was in literature, my second was in psychology and ultimately I ended up in engineering. I have the perspective of understanding the role of humanities in anything we do – including engineering.”

“Personally [humanities] play a critical importance to me. One of the attractive features of Tech is that it isn’t an institute of technology, it’s a technological university. When I think about the skill sets, research and problems that we will face with this fourth industrial revolution, the criticality of the humanities and social sciences to address those issues is really fundamental.”

“A school like ours, while it does have a distribution around STEM, it has all the other pieces to it. We have to understand how to grow the humanities and integrate them into the sciences and engineering.”

“When we turn the conversation to what is Michigan Tech going to address and solve, the multidimensionality of those problems require us to have a wholesome and rigorous humanities and social science group. As president, I applaud that and it’s one of the reasons I wanted to be here.”

The issue of the lack of diversity on campus was also discussed by Koubek “I’m working on some plans now that will perhaps put more energy and resources into that. I’ll know more come January, but we are putting together some plans to be more successful at [diversity] at our institution. We have tried and worked hard, but we are not where we need to be.”

“When I first started here and I saw the commUNITY advertisements and slogans, it was clear to me that there was already some energy here about being a welcoming and inclusive campus to all of our students. We will continue to redouble our efforts to keep it that way.”

The possible remodeling of buildings on campus came up as well. President Koubek explained that Tech is currently in competition for the H-STEM Building Project. In two to three weeks Tech should know if they are approved to start planning for the new building. It would be the largest building project in the western UP and it also includes renovation funds for some buildings.

President Koubeck might be new here, but he has great expectations for Tech, “We are a big university but if we get too diffused and everyone is pulling in different directions, it gets difficult to make a real impact. We have to make an impact on clean water. We have to make an impact on sustainability. We have to make an impact on improving health outcomes, particularly in rural environments. That’s the responsibility of Tech.”

The Tech Forward talks will wrap up 4:30 p.m. Dec. 12 in the MUB Ballroom. The Tech Forward conversations were made to identify the key areas that need attention. The results of the talks will be presented on the 12th.