At the first in a series of presidential search meetings held last week on Main Campus, R. William Funk, consultant to the presidential search committee, sat and took notes as group of students described their ideal candidate.
For the second time in nine years, Funk will help search for current president David Adamany’s successor. Adamany announced his pending retirement on Jan. 19. In 1997, Funk helped hire a new president at Wayne State University when Adamany retired from the position after a five-year term.
As a member of the Korn/Ferry International, the world’s largest executive search firm, Funk has helped hire presidents at universities across the country. These include Florida State University, Cornell University and Ohio State University.
Funk said a common complaint among students is that presidents are unapproachable.
“I call it ‘the two handshake story,'” Funk said. “Many students meet their president at orientation during freshmen year, shake his or her hand and then don’t see them again until it’s time for commencement.”
Student Government President Oscar Chow, the sole student member of the presidential search committee, was present at the meeting. Vice President of Student Affairs Cristina Ackas and Diversity Affairs co-chair Juan Galeano were among the other TSG members also in attendance.
Chow said the meetings were effective because everyone was open to suggestions.
“It gives students, faculty and alumni a chance to be involved in the process. Whether it’s through interviewing, giving suggestions or just listening,” he said. “From these meetings, we start to get an idea of what everyone wants from the next president.”
At the meeting, Chow detailed qualities he would like to see in the next president. He said he wants a leader who embraces the potential of Temple, understands the importance of academic and social matters, and takes responsibility for their actions.
Chow also said he would conduct his own student survey to compile a large amount of opinions on the type of agenda the next president should have.
During the meeting, students discussed issues such as housing, athletics, academics, gentrification and the remaining items on Adamany’s agenda.
“We need to keep in mind Adamany’s goals,” Ackas said. “We need to keep our diversity levels up among students and faculty.”
Funk said a pool of 40 to 70 candidates will be considered in the preliminary stages. He told students that a Web site is being constructed to keep the public aware of the search’s progress.
Tyson McCloud can be reached at Tyson@temple.edu.