Following the announcement that University president Kevin P. Quinn will be resigning next year, efforts to choose Quinn’s successor have been ongoing. To get student input on the decision, the committee held a public student forum Monday to encourage discussion on the choice.
The forum was overseen by President David Bigley and Bridget Fasciani, the student representatives for the Presidential Search Committee. Bigley and Fasciani asked students what qualities they would like to see in their next president and will report their findings to the committee.
“Our job is to be the voice of the student body to the committee, not just to give our own opinion of what qualities the next president should have,” Bigley said. However, Bigley did say that his ideal candidate would be “someone with a Jesuit background, previous experience in higher education, someone who’s relatable and able to be visible around campus.”
When asked about her ideal candidate, Fasciani said she had “no preference” at the moment, but echoed Bigley’s interests in having a visible president, as well one who “is more involved in social justice and multicultural issues.”
After discussion among the students at the forum, many of their qualifications for president were similar. All students wanted a president who would have a greater presence and visibility on campus, and suggested the possibility of having a regular event where students could meet with the president, such as an open forum like the one they were at, a weekly round-table dinner, attending major campus events or “presidential office hours.” One group of students also suggested the president be more visible on social media, like having an Instagram account for students to follow.
Students also preferred a Jesuit president. Although the search is open to any qualified individual regardless of religious background, students said that the Jesuit lifestyle is central to the school’s mission. Other qualities students mentioned were being approachable, friendly and financially responsible, as well as immediately getting to work once they became president and not taking time to “settle in.”
Besides the student forum, Bigley and Fasciani have held four table sits in the DeNaples Center to hear student concerns about their next president and also have a survey on RoyalSync that students can fill out. Bigley and Fasciani will be presenting their findings to the Presidential Search Committee on Oct.21.