Chancellor listening sessions begin today

Posted on Jul 13 2015 - 8:32pm by Clara Turnage

The search for the next University of Mississippi chancellor will continue today with a listening session between the college board’s appointed search committee and students, faculty, staff and alumni in the Inn at Ole Miss Ballroom.

After appointing a 34-member search committee to find the next chancellor, the Institutions of Higher Learning board is now reaching step seven of their substantial, 20-step plan. The sessions are purposed to allow students, faculty, staff and alumni to voice their opinions on the qualities and qualifications for which the search committee will look in their search.

Alumni will meet with the search committee from 11-11:45 a.m., and students, faculty and staff will meet from 2-4 p.m.

The Commissioner of Higher Education, Glenn Boyce, will be in attendance at the meeting and said it is important to the IHL board to understand the “diverse viewpoints” in the search process.

“I hope we will have strong participation from the university community in the Campus Listening Sessions tomorrow,” Boyce said. “The campus listening sessions give students, faculty, staff and alumni an opportunity to engage in the search by sharing their ideas about the characteristics needed in the next Chancellor.”

Faculty Senate vice-chair Oliver Dinius said as many members of the senate that can make the session will be in attendance.

“We want to have an opportunity to let the members of the Search Committee and of the Campus Search Advisory Committee know what we expect from the new Chancellor in terms of leadership on the Oxford campus,” Dinius said. “The University of Mississippi has been doing very well over the last decade, and faculty have become very invested in the university’s success. Thus, we want to see the new Chancellor to continue this forward momentum. From the faculty’s viewpoint, this is a time to build on what we have accomplished rather than engage in any experimentation.”

Dinius said the current administration has a very open relationship, something he would like to see furthered in the future chancellor. He said the faculty senate wants a chancellor with “strong academic credentials” and administrative experience at a university “as complex and diverse as ours.”

Trentice Imbler, president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association, along with the 80 members of the executive committee and board, are invited to meet with the search committee at 9 a.m. before they meet with other alumni. Imbler said she hopes to gain a stronger understanding of what’s next in the search and to express what the association hopes for in the new chancellor.

“We, as a board, want an individual that brings many qualities to the university,” Imbler said. “Of course, we want an individual that the professors and staff can relate to. We want someone that understands that this is an SEC school and athletics are important to us. We as alumni want someone that works well with all individuals and has a listening ear.”

Nimbler said she appreciated the inclusiveness the search committee has offered, saying this recognized the importance of alumni in any school.

Rod Bridges, the Associate Student Body president, was also invited to join the campus search committee. Bridges said the inclusion of different groups like the ASB showed a drive for diversity in choosing a new chancellor.

“Dr. Boyce and Alan Perry did a really good job making sure there is adequate representation (on the search committee),” Bridges said. “They want this done well, not just done right.”

Bridges said, as a representative of the student body, he hopes for a chancellor who is interested in student affairs and who prides him or herself in being a part of the Ole Miss tradition and family.

“One of the biggest attributes is someone who is going to invest in the students,” Bridges said. “Someone who is going to dedicate their time on what students want, that’s the best we can hope for.”

Two more listening sessions are scheduled on August 20 at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and on August 27 on the Oxford campus.

Following these sessions, search committee members will begin reviewing applications for candidacy in September, five of which will be chosen for review from the IHL board search committee. The board will recommend who is interviewed for the position. The full list of steps can be found on the college board website.

Ole Miss supporters can also voice their opinion on the college board website through a public feedback option the presidential search process page.