Sessions offer info and ask for input on search for next president

October 17, 2013 11:00 AM

Ryan Rivet

In its continuing effort to select the next university president, the Presidential Search Committee held two town hall meetings for faculty and staff members to get some information and offer their input about the process of selecting the successor for Tulane University President Scott Cowen.

Presidential search town hall meeting

Presidential Search Committee co-chair Andrew B. Wisdom fields a question during one of two town hall meetings designed for faculty and staff to get information and offer their input on the search for the next Tulane President. (Photo by Sally Asher)

The meetings, held on the uptown and downtown campuses on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15, gave those in attendance a glimpse at what criteria the committee is assessing and pulled the curtain back on what goes into a major nationwide search of this caliber. A town hall meeting was held for students on Oct. 15 and an online chat for alumni and others was on Oct. 16.

Tulane Board member and Committee co-chair Andrew B. Wisdom led both discussions and told the audiences that so far the list of names being considered was impressive.

“There is very strong interest in this job,” Wisdom said. “I think you should all be encouraged by the fact that there are a lot of significant people in academia who want this job. The candidate pool features diverse individuals, most of whom are real superstars.”

In regard to the desired attributes of the next president, Wisdom laid out a long list that began with academic and professional background and ended with an appreciation of the culture and history of New Orleans.

Wisdom and other members of the committee emphasized that the university is a very complex business and that the new president will have to be willing to adapt to a new sustainable model for higher education to remain competitive going forward.

“What fundamental, systemic changes will have to happen in the private higher education model in order for it to be sustainable and for the Tulanes of the world to still be at the forefront of higher education?” asked Darryl Berger, chair of the Board of Tulane. “That is the question that this next president and we as an institution must come to grips with.”

Tulane Board member Rick S. Rees is co-chairing the search committee.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000