Kent State University's
search for a successor to President Lester Lefton has begun in earnest with the appointment of a search committee that will recruit candidates and serve in an advisory capacity to the university Board of Trustees, who will make the final decision on Kent's 12th chief executive.
The 15-member Presidential Search Committee, chaired by KSU Trustee Richard Marsh, includes representatives of the academic world, faculty and student governance and the Kent community. It is a diverse group, representative of many of the constituencies with whom Kent State's next president will interact.
President Lefton's successor will inherit a campus that has been strengthened by the retiring president's tenure. Enrollment is strong, there is a strengthened commitment to academic excellence and the campus itself is the focus of continued efforts at renewal. Kent State's relationship with its host community has attained a welcome interdependency unrivaled in the 103-year history of the institution.
We hope that the search committee, in recruiting and assessing candidates to succeed President Lefton in 2014, will seek applicants whose attributes include:
n Strong academic credentials, combining experience in the classroom with scholarship and research.
n A sense of foresight, the ability to look beyond immediate challenges and focus on ensuring that Kent State remains competitive in the future.
n An innovative attitude, a willingness to consider new opportunities for academic growth to enhance Kent's marketability for future students.
n An appreciation of the greater Kent community and the mutual benefits that result from strong ties between the campus and its host city.
n A sense of regionalism, nurturing cooperation with other learning institutions while positioning Kent State for academic leadership in Northeastern Ohio.
n Confidence, a trait that is vital for any chief executive but even more so for a university president who must be able to make bold decisions without falling prey to second-guessing.
Kent State has launched a website, www.kent.edu/presidentialsearch, to update the community on the search process and to seek feedback. Two community forums also will be held on Aug. 20, one at 1 p.m. with the regional campuses via videoconferencing, and the second at 3 p.m. in the Kiva at the Kent Student Center. More forums will follow.
Feedback during the search process is important. So is the opportunity for Kent State's next chief executive to interact with university constituencies. A commitment to bringing the finalists for president to the campus prior to the board's decision on its choice would be beneficial to the university as well as Kent State's next leader.