University Senate hosts presidential search forum

Wednesday’s University Senate meeting in the EMU Ballroom featured an open discussion with Oregon University System Chancellor George Pernsteiner@@[email protected]@ and Oregon State Board of Higher Education member Allyn Ford regarding the presidential search process.

Interim University President Robert Berdahl kicked off the discussion with his State of the University Address. He further advocated for shared governance through an independent board.

“It’s going to be important for a candidate to feel they have freedom of action and have the ability to move the University forward with the resources available to the institution,” Berdahl said.

He believes that more independence will attract quality candidates and is assured that independence wouldn’t impede upon obligations to the state.@@i hear the ax a’grindin’@@

“Many institutions have independent boards and still serve the public mission,” he said.@@uh huh…how many out of the total? and does it [email protected]@ “We are not backing away from our responsibility to the people of Oregon.”

Pernsteiner, Ford and Kim Morrisson, managing director of Diversified Search,@@[email protected]@ each expressed a desire to gather public input from each campus constituency. Members of the Senate as well as members of the audience were asked to come forward and discuss traits that they would like to see in a president.

“One thing that I think is key is an accessible personality,” said Kassia Dellabough,@@*[email protected]@ director of professional outreach and development for students in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts. “I think it is important for the president to be approachable.”

Others spoke on issues such as leadership, commitment to an affordable education and keeping the public mission in mind. ASUO Vice President Katie Taylor addressed the board on points the ASUO feels integral in finding a replacement.

“Shared governance, access and affordability are things the new president needs to be committed to,” Taylor said.@@like i am going to believe you, [email protected]@

Following the Senate meeting, the three guests hosted another forum exclusively for students. ASUO Senators delayed their own meeting to attend the forum and described the qualities they would like to see in a president. In addition to restating the qualities listed by Taylor, many of the Senators requested a president that would emphasize academics and take a closer look at donations, particularly those that prioritize the athletics department.

“I think we need to look really critically look at who we’re taking money from, and how that affects our campus and how it affects the students who go here,” ASUO Sen. Jeremy Hedlund said.

During the afternoon forum, Morrisson said that the University’s @@[email protected]@reputation within the higher education job market will help it find strong candidates.

“Every time we’ve reached into the @@[email protected]@market for the University, we’ve been received positively,” Morrisson said. “There is a good reputation to build on.”

Pernsteiner took the opportunity to accentuate the timeline for the search and said that they will expect to find the right candidate by the end of spring term.

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