An open forum seeking input from students and faculty on qualities for new university president candidates took place yesterday, but received little turnout from the Penn State population.
Ann Crouter, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, said the input would be very helpful to the two search committees, as well as the outside search firm, Issacson, Miller.
Crouter said they would be listening and trying to find a common theme in order to write a profile for qualities wanted in the next president. She said the profile would then be widely circulated and used as a basis for potential candidates.
Michael Baer from Isaacson, Miller said the firm created a webpage where people can go and submit nominations for the next president or sources to recommend the next president. He said the webpage also allows people to make general comments about the type of person that they want as the future leader of the university.
Baer said despite the low turnouts at both of the forums, people will have an opportunity to submit their opinions through the webpage.
“The better the profile, the better the committee will do in finding a list,” Crouter said.
Ryan Service, who works in admissions, said the new university president should be more diverse than in past years.
“I feel as though the university has been well run in the past, but they’re all white males in a country that is becoming more and more diverse,” he said.
Service said he would also like to see the new president come in with an understanding of the commonwealth systems.
“Penn State is more than University Park,” he said.
Baer said when the firm starts a search, they begin by spending a couple days on campus to listen to as many constituent groups and stakeholders as they can.
He said he wanted the group to think about major opportunities, major challenges and personal characteristics they wanted from a new president.
Erik Foley, director of Penn State’s Campus Sustainability Office, said he believes the university needs someone who is a good listener, as he or she will have “lots of people to listen to.”
“A part of that, another key word, is accountability,” Foley said. “We need to hold people accountable.”