Students join search for new president

Taylor Nicole Richards – News Writer

President Mary A. Papazian will be leaving Southern this July to become the new president of San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif. Currently members of the Board of Regents search committee and a university advisory committee are working together to conduct the search for the new president of SCSU. On March 9, students had the chance to meet up with Dr. Robert Holyer of the firm AGB Search to discuss what they want to see in the new president and what they think are the priorities for whomever is chosen.

Both search committees will begin advertising next week, according to Holyer at the forum. The first cut of candidates will be made in early May. Off-campus interviews will be held in the beginning of June and campus interviews will happen by the end of June. The Board of Regents will hear feedback and recommendations from both committees and will make the appointment sometime in July so the new president can begin by August, if everything goes according to plan.

“How can students get involved? There are people on the search committee that represent students. When we get to the end, the campus will have an opportunity to interview all the candidates and if you’re around at that time you and others are invited to meet them,” said Holyer. “At the end you will have the opportunity to share your reflections and thoughts on the candidates to the students representing you in the committee.”

After filling in attendees with the timeline of the search process, Holyer stepped back to take notes on three different questions he had for students regarding this process. The first question was: What are the attractions of this position? Why would someone want to be the president of Southern?

“My favorite thing about Southern is the sense of community and family here. Everyone is very supportive in terms of growth and bringing out everyone’s potential,” said Mindy Phan, sophomore recreation and leisure major as well as a member of the Student Government Association (SGA). “As a new candidate I believe that person will have a strong support team from the students, faculty, and administration.”

In response to Phan’s comment, Holyer agreed and said that he can “feel the strong sense of community for a larger campus.” Other students said that Southern is an attractive school because it has a diverse student body, it is eco-friendly, has a strong residence life, and still has a potential to grow.

Next, Holyer asked what some general priorities are for the next president when they start. One student mentioned that he would like to see a stronger relationship between the administration and faculty. State-wide budget cuts were brought up, and multiple students in the crowd mentioned that they would like to see the next president making sure Southern stays an “accessible” school.

“The president will need to have a strong voice in advocating for the value of our education. Now is the time for a president to have speak up for the students to legislators,” said Adam Zhitomi, a junior communication disorders major and member of the SGA.

Other than advocating to keep Southern from being accessible, Phan also wanted the new president getting engaged in admissions.

“I’d like to see more outreach programs and more retention programs to ensure that the students who walk through these doors also graduate through these doors by providing the right resources and help they need,” said Phan. “I believe that’s important to show high schools how amazing we are and keep them aware of our resources.”

The last question Holyer had to the group was what qualities they would like to see in the new president. Students wanted to see someone who has had experience in higher administration, someone who has worked in state school systems before, and someone who is creative in moving the university forward.



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