Speed it up

The Board of Trustees held a special session last Friday to approve a leadership statement explaining what they expect out of the next university president.

The current deadline to apply is October 1 and a final decision will be made around January, with the new candidate scheduled to take over July 1, 2010. This means CMU will not have a new president until the end of the academic year, and will leave an interim president in office for a year. The Board of Trustees needs to be quicker in their decision making as CMU needs leadership as soon as possible.

CMU is recruiting candidates by advertising twice in journals primary used in higher education: once at the beginning of the summer and again at the end. CMU said the decision to select a new president will happen in the fall because some people working in academics take the summer off, making the candidate pool larger. But CMU will most likely appoint an administrator as their next president, and most administrators in education are involved at their college year-round, allowing recruitment to happen all summer. The university could easily make the deadline for application in July and make the process.

The special session Friday did, however, show that the board wants to get their qualifications out quickly. Instead of waiting until the July Board of Trustees meeting to release the qualifications, they decided to hold the meeting in Romulus.

The university also needs to be more active in their recruitment. Beyond the two advertisements, the Board of Trustees should contact anyone who the would want as a potential candidate. It would show that the University is interested in securing a specific type of candidate for the next president, rather than sifting through applicants who saw the two advertisements. This would guarantee a more qualified and informed president.

CMU may be bounded by contracts that prevent them from allowing the president from taking over until July 1, 2010. While the president may not start until then, it would still be beneficial for CMU to appoint a new president as quickly as possible. With all of the major changes happening at CMU, a full-time president is needed as soon as possible. If anything, the development of the new medical school will need effective leadership, something the new president should be ready and eager to work on.

If students and faculty at least have an inclination who the next president is, it could give them a chance to become familiar with who they are and what their policies might entail. It would also give the University a sense of concrete leadership - something that has been missing from CMU since University President Michael Rao announced his plans to move.