EDITORIAL: Presidential search heading in right direction


Photo: Kelsey Kremer/Iowa State Daily

Steven Leath, then a finalist in ISU’s search for a new president, speaks on Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 in Morrill Hall during the presidential finalist forum. Leath previously served as vice president for research and sponsored programs for the University of North Carolina system.

Editorial Board

The search for Iowa State’s 16th president is underway. The Editorial Board would like to commend the search committee for its level of transparency thus far and giving students, faculty and community members an opportunity to have their voices heard. The ongoing hope is that the next president of Iowa State doesn’t start off on a rocky foot like University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld.

Hopefully, what we see from Iowa State and the Board of Regents is a continuously open process that seeks input from the public throughout the interviewing process. The search committee enlisted the help of AGB Search, a consulting agency, to help find candidates. Publicly listed finalists will be invited to campus for interviews in early October.

All hands will be required on deck in about a month to help vet the candidates. Faculty, students and the general public should have the time needed to research and evaluate the candidates between when they are announced and the Board of Regents votes on a candidate. This will help ensure that the final selection is done in full view of the public where résumé errors and lack of previous experience can be debated before the final vote takes place.  

The Iowa State community needs to take advantage of this increased level of transparency. Take the time to independently evaluate the candidates when they are announced. Then, make your opinions and voices heard by contacting the Board of Regents and writing to your local media outlets. The next president of the university will be crucial in dealing with the issues we face like sexual assault, diversity and inclusion on campus, student enrollment, tuition levels and much more.

Specifically, the Iowa State community should make sure that the next president has a plan for increasing student services to match increased enrollment. Iowa State has been expanding rapidly in both student population and building projects. The new president should have a clear idea about how to best grow the campus and community in an inclusive and sustainable way.

Our next president will also have to manage issues at Iowa State that are common place across the United States. These problems are dynamic and complex. They require steadfast leadership from a person who listens to the needs of the community and responds with courage and conviction. Therefore, each candidate should provide past experiences on how he/she dealt with similar issues in the past. This provides a baseline for the public to envision how the candidate would deal with the issues as president of the university.

The next president of Iowa State will have a lot to manage. However, we welcome the candidates, whomever they may be, with open minds. To the candidates, come prepared and ready to fall in love with Cyclone Nation.