Board follows formula to hire successor

Austin Quintero

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The Board of Regents members took six steps to hire the next MSU president.

Step One: Announcement

The former president must announce retirement. Jesse Rogers, president of MSU and long-time member of the school, is retiring this year. His final days as president of the University will be Aug. 8 when the new president will take his place.

Step Two: brainstorming

Students and faculty begin their brainstorming as to what they want in a new president.

“The president should continue with more building projects like Mustangs Walk for example, that would make for a more attractive campus,” said Wesley Bynum, marketing junior.

“The new president needs to be someone who will help our school grow not only in numbers, but in school spirit,” said Kaitlynn Watterson, nursing sophmore.

Step Three: hire a search firm

Midwestern went with the search firm Academic Search. The goal of the firm was to find well rounded candidates who fit specific needs and qualifications of the university.

“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.

The firm, on behalf of the school, sifts through thousands of applicants ensuring background checks and interviews are done, to finish with 53 presidential possibilities.

Suzanne Shipley, former president of Shephard University and future president of MSU, answers questions from reporters before a forum Feb. 24. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Suzanne Shipley, former president of Shephard University and future president of MSU, answers questions from reporters before a forum Feb. 24. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Step Four: appoint a committee

The committee appointed by the Board of Regents narrowed down the 53 applicants to 11.

Once the 11 potential candidates are brought in for interviews, the search advisory committee narrows down the 11 candidates to just three.

Step Five: interview candidates

The top three candidates meet with faculty, staff, students and the public. Each finalist holds a panel where any member of the MSU and local communities are able to ask questions and where the candidate delivers a spoken resume.

“We can create a safe environment here by looking out for each other, by being there for each other, by caring for each other,” Robert Nelsen, the third presidential candidate to visit MSU, said in his speech to attendees.

Step Six: make offer

Next, the Board of Regents choose the single finalist. Members of the board include: Chairman Shawn Hessing, Vice Chairman Michael Bernhardt, Secretary J. Kenneth Bryant, Tiffany D. Burks, R. Caven Crosnoe, R. Caven Crosnoe, Jeff Gregg, Nancy Marks, Samuel M. Sanchez and non-voting, student member Jesse Brown.

On March 9, Board members selected the final candidate as Suzanne Shipley, president of COPLAC and former president of Shepard University.

“I’m excited,” said Jesse Brown, criminal justice junior and student regent, after the Board’s final three-hour meeting to select the last candidate. “I know she’s going to do a fantastic job. The Shepherd University board does not want to let her go, so that means we’re definitely doing something right.”

Shawn Hessing, chairman of the Board of Regents, said in a press release, “From the beginning the committee and board knew that we wanted someone who was best for the university and best for Wichita Falls. We have that in Suzanne Shipley.”

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