The University, along with search firm Storbeck Pimentel, held an open student lunch forum to discuss the search for a new University president on Oct. 12.
Anne Coyle is the search consultant from the company Storbeck Pimentel, which The University hired to help for the search. Students were asked questions like what they see as the attractions of the position of president, what they believe are the biggest challenges and what specifically are they looking for in the next president.
Coyle made it clear to the students that her agency was not going to decide on a president for The University and that the agency that she belongs to will only be finding potential, qualified matches. The final decision comes from a board of members within The University administration that will assess how the candidate fits with the school.
One of the biggest challenges with this search is keeping everything confidential. Coyle says that keeping the candidates confidential is a way of protecting the job security of said candidates. If one potential president were to come to The University, their current job may be at risk if everyone were to find out.
“Twenty years ago you could have something stay within the campus community with faculty etc., and it may never make it back to their home institution. But these days, information travels more quickly than ever. If you are a provost or vice provost or president at another institution, and you’re going to look at another institution, they may feel like you already have one foot out the door,” Coyle said.
When speaking about the attractive qualities of the job, students were quick with their answers. They praised the school by calling The University a campus with a very strong sense of community. Students also said that The University almost always welcomes everyone with open arms, and that whoever the president will be, will be welcomed with a smile.
Students also addressed their concerns with money flow to their organizations and clubs. Some were questioning the transparency of club and organization budgets within The University because of claims that The University is pulling in more money, yet still decreasing budgets of their clubs.
The forum was open to the entire campus, and attendees ranged from Student Government members to club sport members to everyday students that had serious concern with the issue. The students focused most of their answers around the topic of Jesuit ideals and fitting in with the campus community.
Senior Lauren Welkie said that connecting with the campus may be the most challenging part of the job of the future president.
“Trying to connect with the community that they are not too familiar with,” Welkie said. “If they are someone from the outside, I think it may be very hard to connect with the community.”
Senior Sean Cleary also spoke about how much he still cares about the future president, although he will not be a student at The University anymore when the president takes control. He says that it is important to know who will continue to make The
University a great place and who will make support the great experiences he has had.
“I think that even though we won’t be here physically, Scranton has been such a great experience for us that I would hope a new president would be able to help sustain the environment that could provide that experience to new students,” Cleary said.