What should our next president be like?
By Thunderword Staff
The three finalists for the presidency were all on campus recently for forums and discussions with students and staff.
This gave the campus community had its chance to meet the three people who want to lead the college in to the future, and to ask them questions.
All three of the finalists are outsiders and come from different states. Dr. Justin Guillory is from Washington, Dr. Lisa Avery is from Oregon, Dr. John Mosby is from California. The three of them have different experiences and unique qualities to be the next leader of Highline.
This college has a unique opportunity to pick new leadership and forge a new vision and plan its future. In addition to getting a new president, the school will be getting three other new leaders. Vice President Dr. Lisa Skari, Interim Vice President Dr. Rolita Ezeonu and Interim President Dr. Jeff Wagnitz will all be leaving campus after this school year.
But knowing that the next president will be new to the campus raises the question: What exactly should the new leader be like?
First, the main thing is that new president should be here for the long haul. The next president should not be using this job as a stepping stone to get a different one. The next president should want to stay around to continue the mission of making Highline the best that it can be.
Highline cannot have continuous turnover. No place can truly function if it is consistently welcoming new leadership. Ships don't consistently change their captain, countries don't constantly get new leadership, and colleges should not get a new president every other year.
Highline benefitted from a huge amount of security and stability with Dr. Jack Bermingham leading the college for 10 years. Staff and faculty who come here tend to stay here for a while, and it would help them to know their president will be there as well.
The next president of Highline also needs to be someone who understands the needs of the college. They need to be open and easily available to people at the college, and they should try to make a connection with the students early on.
To truly be a successful president, they should make every effort to talk to students and connect with them. This would benefit everyone. Students need to feel like they are listened to, and that the administration of the college cares. And the administration should know how the students feel before making decisions.
The next president also needs to promote and maintain this college's wonderful diversity. Highline is a unique and special place, and people of diverse backgrounds need to be accepted and welcome here.
Highline is one of the most diverse schools in the country, and there is a strong culture of acceptance and tolerance of different beliefs and ideas here. In these polarized and divisive times, this campus is accepting, and that acceptance needs to be promoted and defended.
Teaching experience is also a plus. Above all else, this is a school. The main focus is to educate students and prepare them for the future. Someone who has had a history of teaching and working with students should be a requirement.
It would be hard for the new president to lead the school when they do not know the challenges and difficulties that professors have on campus each day. No one can truly know what it is like to be a professor if they have not done it.
The next president should also understand how big of a role this college plays in the community and should work to continue and expand that role.
The next president's biggest thing that they must do is to listen and try to adapt to the campus's vibe. Listen to students, listen to faculty, listen to staff. Since the new president will be coming from outside of the school, they should take time to learn about the campus and all that is has to offer.
Whoever the new president is should be welcomed with open arms, but they need to extend their hands and make an effort.