Faculty feels ignored in U of L presidential search

By on November 21, 2017

By Megan Brewer — 

Applications for U of L’s next president are due Dec. 1. When the search was announced as closed in September the listening tours were agreed upon.

Not only is the search closed, but the faculty haven’t had their voices heard as to what they want in a president.

The Board of Trustees, to no surprise, is not doing things by the book.

“Until the listening tour occurs, we can’t move much further with the search,” chair Bonita Black said at the Nov. 13 Presidential Search Faculty Search Subcommittee meeting.

Listening tours need to happen before the deadline for applications, but as of right now, that seems unlikely.

Pushing the deadline back could cause potential candidates to drop out according to search firm R. William Funk & Associates founder, but he says Dec. 1 is a “soft deadline.”

“The way that decisions have been made up to this point, the fact that this is our first meeting, some of the statements that have been made have been communicating something very different. (They are) communicating either that this search is rigged, it’s a sham or that the board doesn’t know what it’s doing,” U of L’s Arts & Sciences representative Susan Jarosi said.

Any of these options seem feasible. For the board to not set back the application deadline, a rigged search or a lack of knowledge of policies becomes believable.

Lack of knowledge or care for policies seems to be how the board’s operated multiple times, so for them to do it again isn’t much of a surprise.

For U of L to improve the board needs to take the faculty’s needs into consideration and find solutions to the issues with the presidential search.

The solution that would suit faculty the most would be to open the presidential search.

The next suitable solution for faculty would be to push back the date for applications until a listening tour can be scheduled.

The faculty needs to be heard before the pool for potential presidents closes since the next president will be who they directly work under.  This person will be their boss and who they look to for all matters at U of L.

Faculty should feel like this person is someone they can trust.

This can’t happen with a Dec. 1 deadline for applications, even if it is a “soft deadline” if there is no way for the faculty to be heard.

The board needs to start doing things the correct way, starting with pushing back the application deadline and having a listening tour. To continue putting the faculty first, the board should have open interviews with the presidential finalists.

Photo by Shelby Brown / The Louisville Cardinal

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