Woodley conducted the first meeting of the search committee to find a new NSU president Wednesday afternoon in Magale Recital Hall.
When Woodley took remarks from the audience, the reoccurring theme was the desire for a president who would increase campus population and strengthen campus life and strengthen athletics. Also important was the need for transparency into budget affairs and the need to find ways to retain faculty.
A sparse crowd of about 75 people, mostly NSU students, faculty and staff and a few townspeople, attended the meeting in which Woodley introduced the search committee members and outlined events that will lead to the eventual selection.
The selection committee will hire a search firm to recruit candidates as well as accept applications from others. Woodley does not anticipate appointing an interim president.
The application deadline is Aug. 1; the search committee will receive consultant recommendations, review applications and select semi-finalists for public interviews by Aug. 21.
On-campus interviews will be the week of Sept. 8; the system’s board will interview finalists and name the president the week of Sept. 22.
Woodley said all timelines are tentative.
During the recent search for the president of Nicholls State University, there were 46 applicants.
The search firm submitted 12 names and the search committee added five additional names from the other applications. From the 17 names, the search committee chose five finalists, then two finalists, with the full system board making the final choice.
Woodley gave several reassurances as to the openness and fairness of the selection process saying the meeting Wednesday was not to promote any one person. There will be open interviews of the finalists at NSU during which the public can ask questions.
System board member Jimmy Long of Natchitoches reiterated those sentiments. “This committee comes here today with open minds, not predetermined minds. I promise you a fair hearing, open to the public. We will also accept applications from people here at NSU,” Long said.
Audience members submitted statements to the panel and were given 3-minutes to tell what qualities they sought in a new president.
Tommy Chester, a member of the NSU Alumni Foundation Board, said he was representing Sen. Gerald Long who was in session at the Legislature. The foundation board submitted 15 recommendations, with input from alumni, about what qualities the next president should have. “I hope you will review them,” Chester said.
Shelia Carpenter, who said she was born and raised here, said budget development, business growth, innovation and improvement were essential. She called for someone with a strong operational level and strong strategic plan.
Matthew Miles is an alumnus and a student. He asked for someone with a clear vision and cohesive plan for diversity who will consider needs of the students. Infrastructure concerns and knowledge of student affairs were at the top of his list.
Stacy Franchesca called for an enhancement to campus life.
Eric Gilmore owns a bookstore on University Parkway and he too called for more campus life. He said online courses were great but he wanted more people on campus. He advocated “getting behind athletics” and bringing more people to campus.
Bria Williams is a member of the Student Government Association. She said the new president should have worldly experience “outside the South,” should be genuine, truly compassionate and caring.
Matthew Spence is a student. He wants more emphasis on academics and more focus on faculty and student affairs.
Scholars’ College student Taylor Nelson loves the family atmosphere of NSU. She thinks there should be more transparency about budget cuts and new fees; wants new activities and ideas, a worldly and fresh perspective. She said athletics are important and there should be renovations to existing buildings before building new ones.
Steven Gabrey is a professor in the biology department. He wants priority given to retaining faculty.
Jackie Crew asked for someone who would recruit quality students and emphasize growing the on-campus populations.
Dr. Massimo Bezoari is an NSU professor who is a voting member of the search committee. Since there have been few raises, he wants a president who can find other ways to reward faculty; permit more faculty review of administrative positions; and provide greater transparency of administration business.
Professor Mike Land asked for someone who can find ways to increase the number of students on campus; provide more information on how funding is spent; and find ways to energize the faculty and students.
Kyla Winey is SGA president and is a non-voting advisory member of the search committee. She wants the president to strengthen student life on campus, provide motivation that will trickle down, have ties to the community and energize the faculty.
Cade Brumley is a graduate who is superintendent of the DeSoto Parish School Board. He wants a president who will develop a relationship with other parish superintendents and create a “pipeline” to direct students to NSU.
Retha Cox asked for someone with vision who is not afraid of change, can create a vibrant student life and focus on athletics; has a plan to upgrade athletic facilities; and will model best practices of other universities. She said they should have a passion for NSU and higher education in general.
Tentative Search Timeline
May 7: Inaugural Meeting and public forum at NSUMay: Search firm engaged and advertisement begins to run in publications
June 27: If needed, interim president selected by board. Board president Dr. Sandra Woodley said at the meeting Wednesday she did not anticipate appointing an interim president
Aug. 1: Preferred deadline for nominations and applications
Aug. 21: Committee receives consultant recommendations, reviews applications and selects semi-finalists to interview publicly at NSU
Week of Sept. 8: On-campus interview
Week of Sept. 22: Finalists interviewed by full board and selection of president
Campus at a Glance
Increased visibility in campus life was a frequently cited concern at the public meeting of the NSU president search committee. What exactly does campus life mean in an age and in an institution with a strong showing in online courses? NSU now offers 34 accredited online degree programs, with accolades for their quality and affordability. The following statistics provide a picture of electronic and traditional students.
*NSU enrollment is 8,944.
*On campus, which is Natchitoches, Shreveport, Fort Polk and Alexandria, is 4,968.
*Natchitoches campus alone is 3,796. However there is no breakdown of how many of those are on-line since some on-campus students take on-line classes.
*The figures are based on where a student takes a majority of classes. They could take 9 hours online and 6 in Natchitoches.
*The number of beds in campus housing is 1,525 which includes Varnado Hall, University Columns Place I and II.