EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Southwestern Michigan College Faculty Association would like to encourage all interested faculty, staff, students, and community members to attend the Board of Trustees meeting Monday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Board Room on the second floor of the Briegel Building, located at 58900 Cherry Grove Road in Dowagiac.
The SMC Board of Trustees is currently undergoing a search for the next president of the college. While the board has announced its intention to limit the search to internal applicants, it is the firm position of the faculty association that an external search is essential to identifying the most suitable candidate for president.
“This approach does not preclude internal applicants, but, in fact, strengthens their standing through wider consideration of candidates and qualifications,” stated Faculty Association president, Dr. Jeff Dennis.
The Association strongly supports board member Dr. Elaine Foster’s recommendation to form a presidential search committee. This committee would be comprised of members selected from faculty, staff, and community at large. According to Association Secretary, Professor Robin Shipkosky, “We feel this strategy will allow for a fairer and more transparent process, regardless of the scope of the search, without a financial cost to the college.”
“The next president of SMC will require the support of all stakeholders, especially community members, who comprise the majority of SMC students. It is critical that he or she holds credibility beyond the Board of Trustees. The appointment must be a shared process, and must not be perceived as a unilateral, arbitrary decision,” said Association Vice-President Donald Ricker.
It is highly unusual and quite surprising to exclude an external search for a college president.
“You can learn much from outside candidates,” MEA UniServ Director Lou Ann Vidmar notes, adding “Even those candidates not chosen bring new ideas to help move the college forward into the future.”
Historically, the college has not conducted an external search for president in more than four decades. Concluded Dr. Dennis, “It’s time to open up the process to find the best candidate to serve as president of SMC.”
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