With McNeese State University President Dr. Philip Williams set to retire on June 30, the university has started its process to find his successor.
On Monday morning, the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System held a presidential search committee meeting and public forum. It's the first step in the selection process and what the committee sees as the most important part.
The ULS Board of Supervisors is in charge of hiring presidents for the nine universities it oversees. The board chairperson appoints a presidential search committee that consists of at least six members of the board, a faculty member and a McNeese student, as well as the system president who serves as the non-voting committee chairman.
Dr. Jim Henderson, committee chairman, said the committee has already posted its listing for the university's presidential position but that isn't what he said is the most important part.
"The meat of the search starts with getting feedback from this local community," he said.
The forum makes it possible for the committee to hear from those directly affected by the change in leadership, like faculty, staff, community members, and students. They're asked what they see as characteristics of a successful president and what they think McNeese's priorities should be moving forward.
However different the viewpoints may have been, they all revolve around one thing.
"They want a leader - someone who can take McNeese, seize the ample opportunities that are afforded from the economic growth in the region; they can build on the wonderful legacy of this university and really take it to the next level," he said.
Henderson said the committee has a short period of time to find the next president - the decision has to be made by the beginning of May.
"There's always a little bit of pressure but we work well under pressure," he said.
The next step in the process is receiving applications and nominations - starting March 27. The following week, the committee will receive its list of candidates.
Track the progress of the search and leave comments HERE.
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