Search for president: LU voices criteria looked for in president

Emily Adair | Editor-in-Chief
September 24, 2014; 11:50 p.m.

Student, faculty and staff representatives met with the presidential search team last week to share what they would like to see in the next university president.

Greg Santore and Katherine Haley from Witt/Kieffer, the organization hired to find suitable candidates for LU’s next president, visited campus Sept. 15 -16.
The Board of Directors will select the next president from the list of canidates.

The representatives met with President James Evans and members of the Alumni Board, Faculty Council, Staff Council and student government.
Evans, who announced his retirement early this summer, said he introduced the various groups to the Witt/Kieffer representatives so the groups felt comfortable with them and their mission. He said he did not stay for the meetings, though.

“I want everyone to feel free to say what they want to say,” he said.

The meetings allowed these groups to discuss the university as they view it now. The members of each group were able to share which aspects could be improved and which need to stay
the same.

Considers the needs of all community members

The LSGA, Faculty Council and Staff Council each mentioned the need
for a president who considers all the university’s shareholders when making decisions, according to Nikki Napolitano, Jason Lively and Mike Tolman, respectively.

“Shared governance is like a big pie,” Lively said. “The faculty, the staff and the students each make up a slice of that pie.”
Lively said the Faculty Council told Haley and Santore that the new president should be someone who values the input of the faculty and staff and involves them in the decision-making process.

Is engaging and approachable

All three groups hope to see a president who is involved on campus and who, as Lively said, is a
“students’ president.” That is, someone who engages the students and is approachable and recognized by all members of the community.
The LSGA would like candidates who would be willing to not only participate at campus events, but also speak with the students.
“We sometimes go to conferences and meet people from other schools, and they’re always surprised that our president actually sits down and talks to us,” Napolitano said.
“We think that’s a huge advantage we want to maintain when President Evans leaves.”

Has a clear vision

Senator Dylan Paul said LSGA mentioned the need for a president who will come in with a clear vision of where to take the school.
This rang true in the other meetings, as well.
“We mostly discussed things for applicants to know when they come into the job,” Tolman said of the Staff Council.
He said LU needs candidates who know how strong the online and Belleville campuses are, both of which are manned by the faculty and staff.
Likewise, Evans said he believes two focuses over the next five years should be on bringing the Belleville day-student population up and fully realizing the potential of the School of Nursing and Allied Health Services.
Evans also suggested re-strengthening evening enrollment on LU’s main campus.
The Faculty Council hopes to see someone with an academic mindset.
“The president should be someone who focuses on academics foremost, but certainly values the financial entities that the university has,”
Lively said.

Outlook is positive

Evans said the Witt/Kieffer representatives think it will be easy to attract candidates to LU.
“They commented very favorably on the university,” he said. “They complimented the large campus, the friendly students and atmosphere and the impressive programs we have developed over
the years.”
The LSGA members all said they were confident their discussion will contribute to finding candidates.
Paul said the Witt/Kieffer representatives encouraged LSGA to speak to other students and pass along any additional comments or concerns.
Lively said he also has a positive outlook.
“I have great hopes the input this group collected will be considered as they put together a list of candidates,” he said. “I also like to think the Board of Directors will consider it when they look at the candidates in March.”