The presidential search won’t return to NSU’s campus until April 24-26, when the final applicants chosen by the Northwestern Search Committee will participate in on-campus interviews open to the public.
In a public forum on March 9 at 1:30 p.m., the search committee gathered input from students, faculty and members of the community. Of course, not all students and faculty could attend the event due to conflicting course schedules or other obligations.
In less than a month, on April 3, the search committee will meet in Baton Rouge to review applicant materials and to select semifinalists. Because time is running out for students to offer their input, the Current Sauce asked NSU students via social media what their desired qualifications are for our next university president.
Some students shared the sentiment that the incoming president should be progress-minded.
“With Dr. Henderson leaving, my main concern is that things will go back to being stagnant,” senior Scholars’ student Chelsea Thibodeaux said on the Northwestern Student Concerns Facebook page. “The last year and a half, this university had life breathed back into it with changes and projects that got students excited and involved. I’m hoping for a president that won’t submit to the desires of old alumni and Natchitoches’ influential people but continues the progress that Dr. Henderson started.”
Another student who responded on Student Concerns, Savanna Nicole Whitten, said she wants to see the next president develop the university using the motto “Dedicated to one goal. Yours.” The motto was crafted by Henderson and University Branding and Marketing.
Henderson said the search committee, however, is looking for a candidate who is “student-focused.”
“Providing a great experience and providing a deep connection to students is absolutely vital,” Henderson said.
However, the position of university president requires a candidate who is student-focused simply because universities exist for the education of students. Henderson elaborated on the search committee’s intended meaning of “student-focused.”
“Almost every college or university in the country uses words like ‘student-centered,’ ‘student-focused,’ but it’s different when you see that in action,” Henderson said. “I think that [the Search Committee] got a taste of what a student-focused university looks like [at the public forum on March 9.] That’s not to say that Northwestern is perfect in that regard, by any stretch of the imagination…But I do think that there’s been some––a great a deal of progress, and it starts with the development of that slogan that [was] mentioned on Facebook: ‘Dedicated to one goal. Yours.’”
Additionally, Henderson said he is looking for a candidate who not only appears qualified, but also has a track record to prove it.
“Anybody can memorize the rhetoric,” Henderson said.
As SGA President and a non-voting member of the Search Committee, John Pearce listens to and relays student input about the presidential search to the committee. He encourages students to contact him by phone, email or by visiting him at his office in Room 100 of the Student Union. His phone number and email address are posted on his office window.
To submit comments to the search committee, email NSUpresidentialsearch@la.gov. Information about the search is available at www.ulsystem.edu/northwesternsearch.
Students can contact The Current Sauce with their input via social media or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep an eye out for future articles as the presidential search progresses.