All the king’s horses: searching for a new president

As the chilly winter months morph into bright and crisp days, the evolution of the college continues: students will graduate, professors will come and go, finances will go up and down.

Oh, and the college will start a very detailed process to hire a new leader. Kent Chabotar announced his retirement a few months ago. Many now wonder if their voices will be heard both in the search process and when time comes for the College to select a new president.

Amid the concerns of faculty and staff, some discerning students including myself wonder if their thoughts will be addressed. After all, if I am paying tens of thousands of dollars for an undergraduate degree, I hope the institution it comes from keeps or raises its value.

It is crucial that the board of trustees keeps their word and honors Guilford’s core values and commitment to Quaker testimony and process when conducting their presidential search. Doing so will go a long way in showing prospective students, current faculty and the greater community that our core values are more than just veneer.

Not doing so tells the very product of our college — the students — that what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. It is our duty as a college, whether the board of trustees, the administration, staff or students, that we set ourselves apart from the pack by doing what we say and saying what we mean.

Finding a president fit for Guilford means searching for a leader who will devote their immediate life to Guilford. Our new leader will have to take chances and make positive changes that might make some uncomfortable, or the institution will just tread water until we drown. Hopefully, through the inclusion of voices from students, faculty and staff, the trustees will hear this loud and clear.

Neither college presidents nor trustees have the power to part the Red Sea. Presidents come to colleges and universities with strengths and weaknesses. Trustees have financial considerations that go beyond the purview of my education.

Still, I am haphazardly of the opinion that the board of trustees will hear the recommendations of the small folks here at the College. By small folk, I mean students, faculty and staff — all of whom have something important to say.

As students, we deserve the very best in technology, the highest standards in academics, the best recruitment policies available and a president who truly represents the institution.

Among other things, if Guilford is to survive, it will have to do so by carving out its place in a market saturated with better offerings than the College currently provides.

Right now, the technology used in Guilford’s classrooms and employed through academic courses provides the Guilford student with about as much preparation as a public library. Our internet and technology in classrooms are abysmal. While our access to professors and hands on learning is top rate, the younger generation of students will demand more and get it at institutions for a fraction of the cost it takes to attend Guilford.

Professors are paid so far below the national average that it is both laughable and admirable. Laughable only when administrators somehow shift the blame on faculty for complaining too much, and admirable when brilliant professors devote their lives and efforts to students and the College at a fraction of the salary they would receive had they worked elsewhere.

I don’t need an MBA or a Ph.D. to discern those needs.

Seeing as how we have a wide and diverse set of trustees who don’t always agree, at least at first, I think there will be a concentrated effort to hear the recommendations of the community.

I hope for their sake, the sake of the college and the morale of the students, faculty and staff, the board of trustees set a good example. I would hope that voices of the young souls this institution claims to molds and professionalizes for the working world are good enough for those who run our college at the highest level. Doing less undermines the very product and ideals that make this college a diamond in the rough