Committee, search firm looking for new university president

Austin Quintero

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Midwestern State University President Jesse Rogers gets water dumped on him with students as part of an effort to raise money for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease. Rogers took the challenge from officials at West Texas A&M and passed the challenge along to Angelo State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson.

Midwestern State University President Jesse Rogers gets water dumped on him with students as part of an effort to raise money for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease. Rogers took the challenge from officials at West Texas A&M and passed the challenge along to Angelo State University. Photo by Bradley Wilson.

Since University President Jesse Rogers’ announcement of his upcoming retirement set for August 2015, university officials have taken steps to assure the right candidates for his replacement are being considered including the creation of a search committee and the hiring of a search firm.

“We’re hoping to find a president that will truly understand the academic process, who has been through the ranks and can lead us into the future,” Provost Betty Stewart said.

The committee, officially named Presidential Search Advisory Committee, was created following the conclusion of the spring semester and contains members of the University Board of Regents, faculty, university deans, students themselves and even members of the community. The search firm, Academic Search, was hired by the Board of Regents to assist in finding potential candidates for the job.

“The firm has conducted dozens of presidential searches for universities including Arkansas Tech University, Columbia College, McMurry University, Philander Smith College, University of Alabama, Texas A&M University, Abilene Christian University and Texas Tech Health and Sciences Center,” said Debbie Barrow, director of board and government relations and appointed coordinator of the search committee.

Rogers has spent his entire professional career working at MSU. From the year he attained his doctorate, 1967, Rogers has devoted 48 years of his life to ensuring students’ success as a professor of chemistry and physics, interim president of chemistry, vice president for academic affairs and university president.

“The president has done a great job since he’s been here,” Andrew Smith, junior in business, said. “As long as the new president continues to do things for the students and school itself, I’ll be happy.”

With all the things to consider, the Board of Regents has set up different ways both the students and faculty can have their input on selecting the new president.

“I want input from the students so I can relay that message to the board,” said student regent Jesse Brown, criminal justice junior.

According to Barrow, Academic Search came to the school in August to talk with faculty and students in a forum to get an idea of what the school is looking for. The firm will return on Sept. 15 to give the MSU community another shot at presenting them with ideas before they begin looking at applicants’ profiles. Once the firm finds enough applicants, the advisory committee will begin to narrowing down the top candidates for the position. The candidates are expected to visit campus March 2015 and talk with students and faculty members so the board can receive final input from everyone prior to its decision, Barrow said. The new president will take office in the summer of 2015.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story showed the incorrect grade level for Jesse Brown. It has been corrected online. The Wichitan apologizes for the error.

VIEW INTERVIEW with Debbie Barrow regarding search.

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