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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Candidates bid for presidency

The Moon Room of Dana Auditorium and Bauman Gallery East were hot spots on campus the past two weeks as faculty, staff and students gathered to listen intently to the three final presidential candidates. Both the faculty and staff sessions and the student sessions encouraged community members to get to know Jane Fernandes, Michele Perkins and Carolyn Stefanco.

On April 2, Fernandes discussed the  qualities that she thought would make her the best president and the ways she could impact Guilford College.

Fernandes had visited the College before and said she feels it is her calling to be at Guilford. She also said she finds the  Quaker heritage to be particularly interesting.

“Jane had clearly done her research into who Guilford is as a distinctive college,” said Max Carter, director of the Friends Center and campus ministry coordinator. “She had researched our Quaker identity and what Quakerism means.”

Fernandes discussed how transparency is a big issue for Guilford students, staff and faculty. She said that she plans to make as much information open to the public as possible, if president.

“Jane came across as more authentic, an important aspect of Quaker integrity,” said Carter. “She also valued silence in a profound way and named that as an aspect of Guilford that attracts her.”

Some of Fernandes’ priorities for Guilford would be to organize listening sessions with students, faculty and administrators, as well as to build relationships on and off campus. She said she would hold sit-down meetings, do more community service and listen to the wants and needs of the Guilford community.

“Jane was sweet and seemed very intrigued about the issues the students were concerned about,” said junior Roderick Walker, the tour guide of all three candidates.

On April 3, Dr. Michele Perkins shared her experiences as president of New England College and explained to her audience how important she finds Guilford’s core values.

Perkins discussed each of the core values and used examples from her own presidency to explain how each of them are both important for Guilford and for the president.

“Michele was very knowledgeable about the specifics of being a president,” said Janet Wright, faculty secretary/ombudsperson.

When talking about community, Perkins explained how crucial it is for everyone to be on the same page and work together.

“Michele talked about the importance of government and networking in regards to fundraising and lobbying,” said Monica Jones, activities’ director for the CCE Student Government Association.

Perkins has been able to drastically increase the enrollment at her two previous institutions. She hopes to use those successful strategies to help Guilford grow.

Due to illness, Carolyn Stefanco’s visit was rescheduled for April 7.

She started each meeting with a brief introduction and then went straight into answering people’s questions.

“I enjoyed Carolyn,” said junior Shannon King. “I really liked how comfortable she became with the students.”

Stefanco moved about the room and engaged with the audience. Because she spent little time introducing herself, it opened the floor for more questions.

One question asked at the student session was: If she could teach a 400 level course at Guilford, what would it be?

Stefanco chose an interdisciplinary course. She said the course would be set up like a seminar and would have a history portion that would help students understand core values and how those values have changed.

She was also asked questions about tenure, for which she strongly advocates, along with questions about faculty salaries. Her view on salaries was to determine the facts and discover what really matters to the faculty and staff at Guilford.

“I really liked Carolyn’s enthusiasm and interest in the student body,” said Walker. “She was really excited to hear all the good things about Guilford but just as excited to make a change.”

The board of trustees, along with members of the community, have been discussing their preferences for who the next Guilford president will be.

As of now, it is unknown when this board’s choice will be officially announced to the public.

Given that all of the candidates were carefully chosen based on their extensive experience and admirable character, the final decision will not be an easy one.

“All of them brought different strengths to the table,” said Wright. “I wish we could clone the different qualities into one person.”

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