With a little over a week before newly announced Chancellor Glenn Boyce takes his new position, he said that he has few concrete steps in mind to improve the university. He wants to listen to students before he makes a definite plan.
Boyce said that he believed the search process did put students at the center of the conversation about the next chancellor. The IHL chancellor search process was cut short, and Boyce did not visit campus as a preferred candidate to meet students, faculty and staff before the vote.
“Personally, I do (believe that students were at the center of the conversation). Okay, I do, because I met with students when I was out there,” he said. “Now, when I was doing this work to try to figure out what the university community was looking like, I met with student leaders, actually, we went out to dinner together and spent time with some of the student leaders. And so, from that viewpoint, they represented the school as well and did a good job.”
On the conference call, Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees Vice President Ford Dye said that Boyce was brought in earlier to unify the university as quickly as possible.
When asked about the concrete actions he would take to unify the university, Boyce said that he couldn’t give concrete steps yet because “those will evolve over the next few months,” after he talks and listens to constituents around campus.
“(I) can’t be concrete yet because I have so much to learn,” he said.
Boyce emphasized his need for data about the university before he makes decisions for the start of his term.
“I don’t know what (visiting as a preferred candidate) would have done,” Boyce said. “I don’t know if it would have helped, (and) I don’t know if students would feel like they had been more invested. Perhaps they would have, okay… I know that the board made their decisions, and I worked with that.”
He said he would be meeting with student leaders before his contract began.
“I need them to know who their chancellor is,” he said. “I need them to know the respect I have for them, and I need them to know that I don’t make hollow words. It just doesn’t come out of me.”
Boyce said that campus unity should come from knowing what the university is today and what it will be in the future.
“I’ve got to look at some things to answer that question as to who we are today,” he said when asked who the university community is. “And in particular, I want to look at our achievements, our success rates, for our students. And I’m really interested in some particular issues as to how we’re doing with our students.”
Boyce also said that fundraising is below what it should be, saying it was one of his top priorities. He did not answer questions about concrete actions to improve fundraising efforts. Boyce mentioned the need to complete the STEM building to provide more lab space for students.
“It isn’t about (just lab space). It’s about students taking those courses with the best facilities, the best equipment and sophisticated advanced equipment. Then, all of a sudden, they’re having a desire to become a doctor to become a dentist, you know. It turns them on, and it turns on a passion.”
He said that enrollment was another top priority, saying he would visit high schools to try to recruit more students. Boyce does not want to increase enrollment too much, though, saying the university’s infrastructure could not handle it.
“If we had 30,000 students, we’d be miserable — all of us — because we don’t have the infrastructure for that,” he said. “But we need to continue to grow, and continue to grow successfully, in a manner that the infrastructure will allow us to grow.”
Without many specific plans for his first weeks as a chancellor, Boyce is now looking to learn more about the university.
“It may sound simple to you, but it’s just true: I need to listen, and listen to more, and then I’ll have a concrete plan,” he said.