Dear Board of Trustees
Thank you for the opportunity to present a faculty perspective on the appointment of an Interim President. We are hopeful that our feedback will be both useful and impactful as the Board explores solutions for filling the position of EOU’s Interim President.
As we face the prospect of selecting interim leadership, we understand the Board’s desire for continuity at EOU. However, we would advocate that continuity, stability, and forward momentum are provided by the faculty, deans, and academic structures already in place at EOU. Instead, we urge the Board to consider an individual with the skills and background required to successfully manage the several challenges EOU will be facing in the coming academic year. These challenges include reversing our trend of declining enrollments (particularly on campus), ensuring the financial security of the institution, managing contracts with Wiley/Learning House and EAB, providing support for an interim Provost and Dean, improving communication between the administration, faculty, and the Board, and restoring the confidence of the faculty in senior leadership. We believe all these challenges require extensive experience in higher education, including a national perspective. Ideally, such an individual would have prior experience at the President’s level at a 4 year institution, or at a bare minimum have served at the position of Provost.
In addition to experience in higher education, the individual selected for Interim President needs to possess strong interpersonal and communication skills to improve faculty relations with administration, facilitate intercollege cohesion, and unify the university as a whole. The candidate who fills the Interim President position requires the experience to support and develop faculty and programs that are foundational to strengthening EOU’s reputation and building EOU’s brand.
For these reasons, we encourage the Board to look beyond the immediate EOU community to seek a candidate with the requisite skills, experience, and credentials in higher education to successfully navigate the several challenges we will face as a university in the near future. While there may not be time or resources available for a national search, there are companies that specialize in providing interim leadership for universities, including at the presidential level. If we cannot find a candidate with the necessary attributes through traditional channels, we would encourage the Board to explore such avenues.
Executive Counsel, AAP Local 6200