The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Presidential candidate search continues, students encouraged to participate

“For a presidential candidate, a leadership statement is like a sales brochure,” said Kent Chabotar, current president and professor of political science, in an email interview. “There are about 500 college presidencies becoming vacant in an average year, so any one college is competing with many others for attention. Excellent candidates will receive many leadership statements.”

Chabotar understands that there is a lot of ground to cover when writing up an effective statement to attract the right candidates.

“A good statement reflects the facts about institutional history and culture; the qualities and credentials desired in the next president; an honest, balanced appraisal of the institution’s opportunities and challenges; and what the trustees and others feel are the priorities for the next president,” said Chabotar.

According to Elwood Parker, professor of mathematics and participant in previous presidential searches, three concerns always come up: fundraising experience, academic and teaching experience, and whether the applicant is a Quaker. It has been difficult to find a candidate with all three.

Dana Professor of Psychology Richie Zweigenhaft, another participant in previous presidential searches, shared his personal priorities for the next president.

“He or she should emphasize that Guilford is an academic institution that strives for academic excellence,” said Zweigenhaft. “The person should be committed to Guilford as a strong academic institution that provides an excellent liberal arts undergraduate education.  Fundraising is obviously important.”

Students also feel passionately about the search process and have high expectations for their next president.

“Because Guilford is such an intimate place … the president should be approachable,” said senior Faris El-Ali. “He or she should take an active role in student life. There are a lot of administrative duties, but the president’s face should be known. They (also) need to work on the budget, and use a lot of energy keeping the professors here who deserve to be here.”

Sophomore Libby Stillwell hopes the new president will focus on using funds to improve issues that are not readily visible.

“The president should distribute money in a way that makes sense for Guilford,” Stillwell said. “He or she should focus on the less seen and physical plant issues … (the president should) look at renovating The Hut and effectively maintain the unique aspects of our historic buildings throughout campus.”

Other students echo this concern about how the next president will spend money.

“Where is the money going?” asked junior Rachael Howard. “A lot of people worry about the mold problems and updating the dorms. The president should also know how to delegate and organize people.”

Junior Blake Brown captures the general goal of many on campus: “The president should focus on supporting our core values and supporting our community at Guilford, and continue our academic integrity.”

The search committee encourages all members of the community to continue to participate in this important conversation.

“I want as much transparency and community involvement as possible, without crossing the lines of confidentiality,” said Kami Rowan, associate professor of music and committee faculty representative. “I would love to see as many people as possible come to the campus interviews when we get to that point, interacting with all of the candidates and asking questions.”

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