Auburn University is looking for its next president after Jay Gogue announced his plans to retire in the summer. The Auburn University Board of Trustees is asking for input on what it should look for in the next president in eight listening sessions held between Sept. 21 and Sept. 30.
Each listening session will be an hour long and held over Zoom, focusing on a particular group — students, community members, faculty, etc. For students, there is one listening session dedicated to them and two open forums. The student session is on Thursday, Sept. 23, from 4-5 p.m. The open forums are on Thursday, Sept. 23, from 10-11 a.m. and Thursday, Sept. 30, 3-4 p.m.
Many students, though, don’t know what the president of the University does for them and why they should care or attend these sessions.
The president usually handles tasks that are both ceremonial and executive. That means they are expected to attend major ceremonies like graduation, present awards and honors and handle long-range planning and strategy, such as the creation or termination of University degrees, programs and policies.
During Gogue’s first term as the University’s 18th president between 2007 and 2017, his leadership provided support when Auburn's budget was declining in order to keep academic programs from being eliminated, among many other accomplishments.
Students should be most concerned about the impact long-term policies, like policy changes regarding equity and inclusion, will have on their day-to-day lives at the University.
On Sept. 1, the Board of Trustees announced that an exploratory committee had selected executive search firm Greenwood/Asher and Associates to lead the search for the next president president. Notably, the firm was selected as diversity, equity and inclusion influencers by the Staffing Industry Analysts DE&I influencers list. Also, since its founding, more than 57% of the firm’s placements have been diverse candidates.
In the email sent to faculty, staff and students, Wayne Smith, member of the Board of Trustees, wrote that the search will be inclusive, collaborative and transparent.
“We are committed to actively seeking a diverse pool of exceptional candidates.” Smith wrote.
It is important that students have a voice in the next president that is selected and that the next president properly represents our long-term interests, like protecting against sexual assault — especially considering recent events — or instituting diversity programs. The editorial board encourages students to let those listening know what should be at the forefront of their minds as they continue this process.
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