Former Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Karla Hull has been promoted to the position of interim university provost, following the sudden death of former provost Dr. Phil Gunter.
Former interim president Dr. Levy led a search in his final months at the university, seeking for someone to step-in quickly and fill the position.
He looked at all of the deans around VSU and managed to find one who worked.
Dr. Hull was hired to take Dr. Gunter’s place.
“At the time of [Dr. Gunter’s] death, I had served as the interim dean of the College of Ed because he had become the provost,” Dr. Hull said. “Then I was hired as the dean of the College of Ed, and that lasted about six months and then he died.”
Dr. Hull has held many positions at VSU since she was hired 16 years ago by Dr. Gunter.
Most of her work was within the College of Education, specifically within the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders.
“[Dr. Gunter has] always been my supervisor at some level or other,” Dr. Hull said. “He was a mentor in terms of leadership. [Dr. Gunter] had a very, very great relationship with community members and faculty—he was a very giving person. Those were big shoes to follow, and I seem to constantly be following in his shoes.”
Dr. Hull has worked as an interim more than once and understands that while the job is temporary, the work an interim does in that time can still make an impact.
“Even though you’re an interim you have two choices: You can [just sit back] and do what’s always been done because you’re gonna’ leave, or you can say, you know, right now I’m the provost, I will lead this as if I have the position so we don’t waste time,” Dr. Hull said. “One of the most exciting parts of being at this level is being able to see firsthand the amazing, innovative things that faculty and students are doing.”
So far for Dr. Hull, the biggest challenge is finding where Dr. Gunter left off and helping move those forward as well as support Dr. McKinney in his initiatives.
“Whenever I’ve done an interim position, I’ve felt like they’re hiring you because they believe you can lead, and so you need to lead,” Dr. Hull said. “Which means taking some risks, making some decisions; as opposed to just trying to keep the boat afloat, you want to move it forward, I guess. And that is what I’m trying to do.”
Dr. Hull seeks to bring departments together, help students and faculties reach their goals and honor those who are making great strides in research and learning.
“VSU is a place where great teaching is something that we want to reward and honor,” Dr. Hull said.
Even though Dr. Phil Gunter’s position has already been filled, his memory still lives on.
The Lowndes County Association will sponsor a Heart Walk in November, and several teams at VSU plan to walk in memory of Dr. Gunter.
The Heart Walk is a fund-raising event sponsored by the American Heart Association.
“[Dr. Gunter] was just started in this position, really,” Dr. Hull said. “He had just had a short time under his belt. He had a lot of dreams and things he wanted to do. He really lived and breathed VSU and that was something really quite incredible about him.”