Faculty recommendations for a fair and transparent search process

A search process more likely to engender the support of the Campus Community

  • The Presidential Search should be a collaboration that includes UC and FS officers—Co-president Chaves has too many perceptions of conflicts of interest; past experience suggests the need for transparency at every step of the search, and for leadership that has the campus community’s confidence and trust;
  • The Presidential Search committee should not be chaired by the Board Chair–which last time led to questions about process and last-minute drop-outs of the most qualified candidates;
  • Interim co-presidents should not be involved in the search; especially owing to their lack of leadership experience in higher education, they will be quite busy in what will assuredly be a critical academic year;
  • All decisions should be transparent (e.g., choosing a search firm), communication of status shared regularly with the campus community before decisions are made, and genuine input sought, published, and deliberated by the search committee–these requests represent a gap in trust, owing to Board leadership repeatedly choosing to operate out of the public eye, to avoid deliberation and public input/comment, which has created the appearance that not all trustees feel free to weigh in or dissent;
  • Outgoing president should not be involved in any way in formal discussions about the search–this would only taint trust and confidence in the process even more than Board leadership already has. No retiring faculty serve on search committees designed to replace them. This would represent yet another breach in standard ethical expectations for a 93 year-old institution of higher education;
  • The Campus workforce should be overrepresented relative to outside members, to avoid any appearance of cronyism (see ‘on continuity and stability’);
  • Campus constituents should be free to choose for themselves who will represent them, as opposed to the Board leadership hand-selecting search committee members. This would be another indication the Board leadership might truly be embracing some level of engagement and transparency, but otherwise it is standard operating procedure for institutions of EOU’s nature and stature;
  • Composition of the search committee should be something for which the Board seeks input ahead of time. Specific numbers of representatives, timelines for allowing campus constituent groups to nominate and elect representatives, should be public knowledge and announced
  • A request to re-visit Board bylaws would include specifics about how presidential searches are conducted that create independence, inclusion of campus community, and overall much higher levels of integrity of the process than witnessed in 2015 and beyond in ‘comprehensive’ and self-evaluations of both president and board;
  • In other words, Board leadership will be closely watched to see if it is backing its words with action, or instead continuing to offer pro forma processes to create an appearance of inclusion, after already having made underinformed and unpopular decisions;
  • To ensure integrity of process, once the procedure has been agreed upon, no single entity–including the Board–may unilaterally make alterations without public discussion among stakeholders.
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