Presidential Finalist Jim Smith Outlines his Beliefs in Higher Ed

Mar 11, 2014

Dr. Jim Smith
Credit Chad Lampe

Murray State Presidential Candidate Jim Smith believes Universities are about exploration and the resulting intellectual growth. He believes that Universities exist to shape students. He believes that universities are first and foremost for educating students.   He believes faculty drive curriculum. He believes universities must be global in all senses. He believes that universities are the best economic development tool that any state can point to. He also believes that university officials should have fun because of the vibrancy of the students they serve.

Smith presented his beliefs in higher education during a campus forum on Tuesday. He is one of two finalists for the presidency at MSU. Smith answered numerous questions from forum attendees.  

Smith is up against Eastern Oregon University President Bob Davies who visited campus on Monday.

Smith was named the sixteenth President of Northern State University in July, 2009. Throughout his 25-year career, Smith has been actively involved in academic and campus administration serving as Vice President for Economic Development at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Dean of BGSU Firelands, Dean of the Education at Indiana University South Bend, as well as serving in administrative capacities in at West Texas A&M University and Butler University.

Currently Smith reports to a regional Board of Regents in South Dakota.  Previous MSU President Randy Dunn left following a non-renewal of his contract over what he says was a difference of philosophies with the board and board relationships. If selected, Smith says his relationship with the board would be open.

“My inner relationships with the board has always been… full disclosure, be open, have good debate, discuss what we discuss in the board room and the go away committed to do what we all agreed to do,” said Smith. The CEO doesn’t tell the board how to behave and the board doesn’t tell the CEO how to behave, it’s a mutual dialogue.”

Smith says he talks to his board members at NSU about once a week. The MSU Board of Regents meets tomorrow and enters closed session at noon to discuss the two candidates. It is unclear if the board will make a decision or announce publicly the institution’s next president tomorrow afternoon.