Education
12:05 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

How Much Notice is 'Ample' Ahead of MSU Presidential Candidates' Visits?

Wells Hall is the home of Murray State's "Office of the President"

Murray State’s faculty and staff would like ample time to review the presidential candidates before the Board of Regents selects the next president. At present, planned visits from three finalists are scheduled March 11-13.  The board would likely select MSU’s next president on Friday, March 14 during its quarterly meeting.

Prior to each candidate’s visit, university officials will release the name to the public. For instance, if a candidate visits on a Monday then his or her information would be released on Sunday.  This approach is more open than Southern Illinois University’s process where the institution’s board of regents will announce a new president without publicly identifying any other candidate.

Recently, though, MSU has provided more notice regarding the release of candidate names. In 2013 the university hired a new provost and released the candidates’ names one week prior to the first candidate’s campus visit. MSU also provided similar notice when it last searched for a president in 2006. 

Former faculty regent Terry Strieter said the campus community had about a week to look over the background of the candidates. He said there was a good deal of research done on the candidates after their names were out, but Strieter said, “I do not remember that any of the research greatly undermined the viability of any of the candidates.”

Regarding the current search, the minutes of the May 10 board meeting outline its process including:

5. The designated finalists will be invited to campus to meet with the campus community. At least one of those meetings will be an open public forum. A process will be structured by which feedback from these meetings will be received by the Board.

Staff Congress president John Young hopes for more than a single day to prepare for a candidate’s visit.

“It is however desirable that the Murray State community be given ample notification of who has been invited to campus so that the various constituency groups, which hopefully will be meeting with the finalists during their visit, are able to prepare for a meaningful dialogue,” Young said.  “I would hope that the committee/Board of Regents would provide the name of each finalist four or five days ahead of each visit.”

Regent Phil Schooley, who represents the staff on the Board of Regents, hopes for the names to be released as soon as feasible.

“We all would like to see the announcement made sooner than later; but whenever the announcement is made, it is the responsibility of each campus constituency group to prepare themselves to discuss their relevant issues and concerns with each of the candidates during their visit to Murray State University,” Schooley said.

Rory Goggins, spokesperson for the Faculty Senate, wants the Board of Regents to hear the faculty members' opinions of the finalists.

“During the Provost interviews, this was done using a paper survey distributed at the faculty forum for each candidate,” Goggins said.  “Whether it is a paper survey this time or a different mechanism that's used, there will need to be a way for faculty members to communicate their viewpoints to the Board.”

Faculty Regent Renee Fister didn’t mention the timeline directly in her comments but she did mention that constituency groups should have ample time and the opportunity to provide feedback. 

"I want all interested to have an opportunity to review each candidate's information, meet with the candidates in open sessions, and provide feedback to the board so that the board can make the best informed decision it can," Fister said.