Thursday, September 22, 2011

CSU Trustees Make Campus Visits Optional

Chico Enterprise-Record

By LARRY MITCHELL - Staff Writer
Posted: 09/22/2011 12:06:01 AM PDT

LONG BEACH -- Finalists vying for the presidency of aCalifornia State University campus won't necessarily have to visit that campusto meet faculty, students and community members.

The CSU Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to make suchvisits optional.

The apparent aim of the new policy is to allow thoseseeking a campus presidency to keep their names confidential. It's felt somewell-qualified people won't apply if their job seeking were to become knownwhere they work.

The trustees' vote disappointed Lillian Taiz, presidentof the California Faculty Association, which represents professors at the CSU's23 campuses.

In a phone interview, she said, "I think we andpretty much every single voice on the campuses were firmly opposed to thisdecision."

She said it's important to people working on the campusand to the wider community to get some idea of who might be coming to makeimportant decisions about the university.

Chico State chemistry professor Jim Postma, who heads theStatewide Academic Senate, which is elected by the CSU faculty, also expresseddispleasure with the board's decision.

Typically, when a search is made for a new campuspresident, the list of applicants is whittled down to perhaps three finalists.The policy has required those finalists to each spend a day at the campus,meeting people and giving a public lecture.

A subcommittee of the board has been studying howpresidents are selected and how much they should be paid. That panel developedand recommended a new policy for selection in which the campus visits would beoptional. The issue of pay still has to be taken up.

Wednesday morning, the trustees voted 15-1 to adopt thenew policy, said Mike Uhlenkamp, a spokesman for the CSU. He said the onlydissenting vote was cast by trustee Bernadette Cheyne, a professor fromHumboldt State University who represents the CSU faculty on the board.

Uhlenkamp said the board modified the original policy togive people from the campus a voice in whether or not campus visits would berequired in any specific instance.

Under the amendment, in deciding whether to require acampus visit, the chancellor and the trustee in charge of the search wouldconsult a campus advisory committee that's involved in every presidentialsearch. That committee consists of faculty, staff, students and others.

Chico State University President Paul Zingg, who hasspoken of the importance of campus visits, said the amendment to the policy washelpful.

In an email to the E-R Wednesday, he wrote, "Thefinal resolution is a compromise that reflects the input of all those,including myself, who argued for the importance of a campus dialogue for boththe campus and the candidates."

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