Thursday, October 18th, 2018

The search for a new president begins

ELLEN SPAHN | THE FREE PRESS

Posted on December 10, 2014 in News
By Francis Flisiuk

The online portal to submit applications and be considered as a candidate for USM’s presidency has closed, but the search for a new leader is far from over.

A presidential search committee has and will continue to be working on narrowing down the number of applicants into a workable number of people to be interviewed starting in January.

Heading the committee is James Irwin, a board of trustees member, who said that he’s hopeful that his group will be reviewing excellent candidates.

The rest of the committee is made up of representatives from the faculty, staff, student body and outside community. According to Irwin, the plan is to find a leader that understands the ins and outs of higher education, but also one that exhibits entrepreneurial qualities.

“We’re not only looking for someone who’s climbed the ranks at an academic institution,” said Irwin. “We want someone with a track record of building successful relationships and partnerships with organizations.”

Current interim president David Flanagan has stated to his staff that he won’t be considered as a candidate and that he’s only serving as president until a new one is found.

“We’ve been accepting applications on a confidential website,” said Irwin.

The current timeline is as follows, but according to Irwin, is not etched in stone. The committee is meeting this week to review and discuss the first big batch of applications. In January the committee will meet again to trim down the applicant pool even further to a group of people that can be invited for on-campus interviews. This would be the time that the names of the finalists would be released to the public.

“The whole process won’t work if we can’t protect the names of the applicants,” said Irwin.

The committee hopes that sometime prior to the March board of trustees meeting that they will have three-to-four names to recommend to the chancellor. Once the board approves of a candidate, then the plan would be to have that person start before the fall semester begins.

According to Irwin, the new president will have to be someone that embraces the new metropolitan model, a vision he believes most of the USM community has accepted.

“We want someone to be an agent of change……someone who will continue the process we started,” said Irwin.

Irwin said that a good academic leader is a person that can communicate, identify problems and understand the real purpose of higher education: to provide students with the resources they need to build enriching and meaningful lives and careers.

Irwin said, “We need someone to articulate why USM matters in this community.”

 

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