At the end of the Spring 2013 semester, Juniata College President Thomas Kepple will retire after having worked as Juniata’s president since 1998. While students and faculty alike are sad to see Dr. Kepple leave, the search for the next president has already begun. Last semester, a Presidential Search Committee was formed to guide the process. Gerald Kruse, professor of mathematics and a member of the presidential search committee, discusses how the process or selecting a new president will work.
Q: Who is on the presidential search committee, and how are committee members selected?
A: The provost asked for volunteers, and it was ultimately decided by an executive committee. The presidential search committee consists of five trustees—Tim Statton, Gayle Pollock, Frank Pote, Bud Wise and Mary White—three professors—Belle Tuten, Wei-Chung Wang, and myself—Rob Yelnosky, Athena Frederick, and one student representative, Rob Strauss.
Q: How does the committee work?
A: We had an initial meeting in October where we got to know each other and started looking at search firms; it’s very helpful to have an outside consultant, so our initial goal was to find a search firm. We selected Stan Hales of Academic Search, Inc. The next step is getting input from everybody to define the position of president: What do we want to include? What type of person are we looking for?
This week Stan will be on campus meeting with faculty and students. He’s already met with trustees and gotten input from them. Then he’ll formulate a job description and we’ll start to advertise with the help of Academic Search.
Q: What will you be looking for in a presidential candidate?
A: I look at my job as trying to help facilitate everybody, to get input from the campus. I’m not as interested in pushing my own ideas as making sure everybody is heard. I think there are some fairly straightforward things; we need our president to maintain our community, and to improve in certain areas, and of course we want to make sure the incoming president is aware of some of our traditions.
Q: What do you think are the benefits of selecting a new president using this method?
A: I think it’s really important to do as much as you can to be transparent. This is a huge change, and I don’t think it should be done in secret. Obviously there will be some interviews done privately, but making the decision inclusive is a much healthier process, and the search firm does a very good job of helping, but not overtaking the process.
Kelsey Molseed ‘14
Campus Opinions Online Reporter