Search begins for new Salisbury University leader

By Liz Holland
Posted 11/15/21

A search for Salisbury University’s 10th president kicked off last week as faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders gathered at a town hall and offered their collective vision of the …

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Search begins for new Salisbury University leader

Posted

A search for Salisbury University’s 10th president kicked off last week as faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders gathered at a town hall and offered their collective vision of the type of leader they hope to see.

“We’re going to listen hard, starting with this town hall,” said University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay Perman who led the discussion.

Perman was joined by Easton native Robert Rauch, Secretary of the USM Board of Regents, who will chair the search committee. The search process will be coordinated by an executive search firm.

The search committee will be composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni and other university stakeholders. Many names were nominated by last Friday’s deadline and the list must now be pared down, Perman said. The final roster will be presented for a vote by the Board of Regents by early spring.

The plan is to have a new president in place by July 1, following the planned retirement of President Charles Wight on June 30, Perman said. Wight announced last month that he planned to retire at the end of the current academic and fiscal year due to serious health issues.

Wight became SU’s ninth president in 2018. He succeeded Janet Dudley-Eshbach, who held the post for 18 years.

Wight began his higher education career as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Utah in 1984, and has continued to play an active part in the classroom, teaching one course each year. He will continue that role into fall 2022 as a part-time faculty member in SU’s Chemistry Department.

Perman said the search for Wight’s successor will be closed, meaning the identity of candidates will not be publicly disclosed during the search process. In the past, searches were open with candidates brought to campus and were very visible, but some may not want it made public that they are looking for a new job, he said.

“What I’d be looking for somebody for you as your next leader is somebody that doesn’t need a job,” he said. “The bottom line is the bottom line. We want to get the best president and the way to do that is with a closed search.”

At the town hall, faculty and staff offered comments in person and in a live online chat about what they would like from SU’s next president and what candidates for the job should know about the university. Among their comments were:

  •  SU is the ideal size, offering “a positive place for learning and a place of genuine kindness.”
  •   Wight recognized the importance staff plays on campus, and his successor should follow his lead.
  •   The university should partner more with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and community groups.
  •   The next president should have a strong vision and experience in implementing their vision.
  •   They should be willing to learn what SU is all about and embrace it.
  •   The ideal candidate should be a good communicator with the ability to bring people together and get them working toward a shared goal.

 Perman and Rauch also planned to meet separately with members of the faculty and staff senates.

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