Nelsen best fit for MSU

The Wichitan

Our view: While all three presidential finalists impressed us and appeared to be well suited for MSU, the Board of Regents can choose only one, and we hope they choose Robert Nelsen to be our next university president.

Suzanne Shipley, president of Shepherd University, impressed us by being president of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, and she even offered the critique that university officials could do more to involve the university in COPLAC. Shipley said she would follow the university’s Master Plan as it is written, which is good, but not as good as Nelsen’s idea to follow the Master Plan with the caveat that priorities need to be made so university officials can more effectively follow the plan.

The second finalist Andrew Rogerson, provost of Sonoma State University, made a conscious effort to put students at the forefront of his decision making, but as the only candidate who has not been the president of a university, he may have a steeper learning curve than the other finalists. Rogerson would certainly be an agent of change, something he said university presidents should be, but as the only candidate without experience in Texas, he may be less effective at fundraising and working with the legislature.

Robert Nelsen, special adviser to executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the UT System, impressed us the most with the honesty and ease in which he answered questions fully where other candidates tip-toed around some issues.

Through this entire process, students have shown a desire for an open and accessible president, and while all three claimed they would walk around campus and make themselves available to students, Nelsen struck us as the candidate who understands the modern student the most. For starters, Nelsen is the only candidate who has a Twitter account, and he uses it regularly and effectively. This alone puts him ahead of the others in terms of relatability to students, but his openness with the public is the biggest thing students want. We pay a lot of money to attend college, and we deserve to be kept informed about our school, all the way up to the highest level.

Beyond everything, Nelsen demonstrated the most passion of the three finalists—passion he backed up with results from his tenure as president of the University of Texas-Pan American.

MSU needs change to survive, and Nelsen is the candidate to do that most effectively.

THE CANDIDATES: Suzanne Shipley, Andrew Rogerson, and Robert Nelsen.