Provost intends to fulfill five-year contract

Jamie Comstock said she plans to serve out the remainder of her five-year contract as Butler University’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, despite a change in the presidency.

“I do intend to, in the very least, live out my contract,” said Comstock, who is in her fourth year.

Because she was hired under former university President Bobby Fong, many wondered about Comstock’s fate after Fong’s departure—including her.

“I didn’t know [Jim Danko], so I was curious about whether or not we would seem to click together,” Comstock said. “But my early sense of this is that we click together just fine. I’m very encouraged and optimistic.”

Speculation about Comstock’s future at Butler arose when  her home went up for sale this spring.

Comstock has since sold her home, and said she and her husband, Larry Williamson, an instructor of political science, plan to move to a home with less outdoor maintenance in the Indianapolis area.

She said she had already planned to move before Fong accepted the presidency at Ursinus College last fall.

“We didn’t want to send some sort of shock wave through the institution where people would get nervous,” Comstock said.

And as for her future at Butler, Comstock said she would like to remain provost after her contract expires, assuming Danko and she continue to have a complementary working relationship.

“My hope would be that President Danko and I work well together, and I remain as provost until it seems appropriate for me to join my colleagues in the College of Communication,” said Comstock, a tenured faculty member. “All of us have pledged that we will support [Danko] to the best of our ability. We know that the institution will be successful to the extent that the president is successful.”

Comstock said the relationship between the president and provost is one of the most important on campus.

“I would hope that there’s not going to be an issue—sometimes it’s not a big thing that would cause a person’s contract to be not renewed,” she said.  “Sometimes it’s just that the institution needs to go in a different direction and the person’s skill set is not the skill set needed for that.

“I don’t know what the future direction of the institution is.  I would hope that my skill set would match it, but if it doesn’t, then I know it would be my professional responsibility to let someone else with a different skill set come in and take the reins. That’s just what you do.”

Comstock described the working dynamic with the new president so far as “comfortable.”

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