The search for a permanent candidate to replace former SCSU president, Cheryl Norton, has yet to begin. Faculty Senate President Susan Cusato said she is concerned that it is the middle of September and minimal information has been released from the CSU System office.
In collaboration with American Association of University Professors President Mike Shea, Cusato said she wrote a letter to the BOT asking them to begin the search.
“We are urging them to start as soon as possible so we get the best number of candidates,” she said. “Our hopes are that we get a high number of qualified candidates and that we will have three candidates we are comfortable with.”
Cusato said they received a letter from the board stating that there will be a search and the process will begin in September. No further information has been released.
According to Article IV of the board’s bylaws, the Chairman of the BOT, currently Karl Krapek, determines who will make up the University Advisory Committee and the number of each constituency.
The Faculty Senate will choose the teachers and administrators, the Student Government Association will choose the students, and the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association will choose the alumni to sit on the committee. The committee will then select its chairperson.
The advisory committee will assist in the search process by providing its input into the criteria for the selection of a new president, and ultimately will make a recommendation to the Trustees’ Search Committee for nominees, according to Article IV Section 2.
Cusato said she hopes the search follows the recommendation of how a search should be handled from the AAUP.
The AAUP’s policy on faculty participation in the selection, evaluation and retention of administrators states that faculty members will have a significant role in the selection of an academic administrator.
In past searches for CSU presidents, the faculty has played a major role in the selection process.
Martin Levin, former president of the University Senate at ECSU, said the Senate was able to appoint about half of the representatives serving on the University Advisory Committee during the school’s last presidential search.
“The faculty committee ultimately made the recommendation to the BOT and to the chancellor, but that committee reviewed all of the applications and widdled down the list without any outside interference or consultation with the BOT or the chancellor,” he said.
As chair of the committee, Levin said after the list was narrowed down, he, along with the chancellor and chairman of the BOT, conducted airport interviews and then eventually invited the three final candidates to Eastern’s campus.
“It was the job of the search committee to arrange the on-campus meeting. The candidates were asked questions by everyone on campus, and then there was a full faculty meeting with the search committee to discuss their experience meeting the candidates,” he said.
Levin said the BOT largely followed the committee’s recommendation and the university was happy with the candidate chosen.
“There was no one distraught over the choice of Dr. Nunez,” he said. “Ideally, which is never possible, the faculty would love to be at liberty to choose who they wanted. But that doesn’t happen anywhere.”
Similarly, Gilbert Gigliotti, an English professor at CCSU who served on the university’s last presidential search committee, said the final result of the search process was positive.
“In general, the committee was very pleased with how the process worked,” he said. “People might quibble about whether or not the choice was a good one, but we didn’t feel like the BOT was jamming someone down our throat.”
Gigliotti said the open sessions on campus where the candidates came to tour the university were most helpful.
“We encouraged people who weren’t on the committee, but who saw and met all of the candidates to send recommendations to the committee,” he said. “I thought the process worked very well.”
In addressing the possibility of Interim President Stanley Battle’s application for the candidacy for a permanent position, Cusato said, “As far as we know, he has every right to apply. Traditionally, the interim president has always been in-house and therefore they wouldn’t apply.”
She said she hopes the faculty is as much a part of the process to find a permanent president as it has been in past searches.
“We definitely want there to be a search,” she said. “We need to get going.”