Free Press: Why is the job of university president so important to you?
Wood: Well, the president is the person who sets the tone of the university, who is responsible for ensuring that the mission of the university is accomplished. [The president] is the face of the university
FP: Do you have anything new or exciting in store for us this year?
Wood: A couple of things. The most important is we need to continue to focus on student success efforts, that includes, most importantly, working on general education reform. (Also) continued strengthening of faculty and resources for faculty development [including].support for faculty scholarships, research and creative activity.
FP: How will you, as president, be different from former president Richard Pattenaude?
Wood: Well, we’re different. We have different personalities. Rich is, of course, a wonderfully charismatic and extroverted fellow who always brought a lot of energy to events and activities. I’ll do my best to keep up with that.
FP: Joe Wood, rock star?
Wood: Yeah, Joe Wood, rock star (laughs). I’m not certain I’m quite the rock star. Maybe I’m more a folk singer.
Wood: My guess is that to a degree I will probably bring more of an academic tone to things-because that’s my nature-than Rich did. Clearly, that focus has been, as provost (Wood’s former position), my responsibility, but in this year as interim president, I don’t think that I will suddenly become ‘Rich-like.’ But I also recognize the need to be that face of the university and I will certainly step up to that. But it will be with a very different, more academic tone.