Faculty and staff discuss characteristics of UVM’s next president

The Presidential Search is keeping the conversation going.

 

Students, faculty, and staff met on Sept. 26 and 28 in an open forum in order to discuss UVM’s presidential search. 

 

Chair of the Board of Trustees Robert Cioffi said that the Presidential Search Committee values feedback from the UVM community.

 

“An important aspect of the initial phase of the search for the 26th president of the University of Vermont involves gathering the perspectives of members of the University Community,” Cioffi said.

 

UVM seeks a new president who resonates with the state’s values of sincerity, openness and civic commitment and embraces the opportunity to be a member of the Vermont community, the Board of Trustees document titled ‘An Invitation to Apply’ stated.

 

The current union impasse has created a perception that the administration of UVM has become out of touch the Vermont community, said Adrian Ivakhiv, associate professor of environmental studies and natural resources.

 

“An understanding of the culture of the academic world is important, and if a president comes in and doesn’t understand that, there will be cultural clashes,” Ivakhiv said.

 

Diversity:

 

The University has made diligent efforts to build a more diverse campus, the Board’s document stated.

 

UVM takes pride in its independence and needs a president who can relate to many different groups, said Patrick Brown, director of student life.

 

“Somebody, whether they are traditional or non-traditional, has to be able to work in all those different places, understand what they are, speak the different languages that are going on in all those different places, to be successful here,” Brown said.

 

Institutional leadership will advance diversity of all types—racial, sexual, ethnic, socio- economic, and intellectual, according to the document.

 

“I noticed that religious and spiritual diversity wasn’t named, and I noticed that sensitivity to disabilities wasn’t named,” said Brandi Cahill, conference and event services coordinator. “I would like to see that area fleshed out.”

 

Environmental:

 

The University’s research centers and institutes focus on environmental and agricultural issues in addition to other subjects, the Board’s ‘Invitation to Apply’ stated.

 

The University has not been developing the environmental studies program, Ivakhiv said.

 

“If we got a president who has some vision for how UVM could really be the environmental university that president Fogel talked about,” he said. “We could be a national leader.”

 

UVM Community:

 

Several other universities are currently recruiting presidents, said Gary Derr, vice president for executive operations.

 

Because some other universities have faster vetting processes, one of UVM’s candidates for president was already chosen by another university, Derr said

 

“The nature of the search here is very different from other institutions,” he said. “The nature of UVM is to have a very collaborative process.”

 

“The search committee has been very adamant from the beginning that we want the candidates to come onto campus in a very public way and meet the community,” said Jeff Schulman, senior associate athletic director. “That’s an opportunity for us to get to know these candidates.”

 

“The only way you can find out if there is a match between the campus community and the candidate is to allow that candidate to meet as many faculty staff and students as possible,” said Susan Wertheimer, senior associate director of admissions.