From a possible 60 candidates for Boise State’s next president, five were selected to attend open forums for faculty and staff, students and alumni and donors this week. The candidates were spread out one each day and students were able to ask questions.
On Monday, Susan E. Borrego, the first candidate, visited Boise State to speak with faculty and staff in the morning, students in the afternoon and alumni and donors in the evening. As chancellor at the University of Michigan-Flint, Borrego said she wants to put programs in place to lift up first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students to impact everybody on campus.
“It really isn’t rocket science to work on retention for first-gen students. Part of it is understanding ways to meet first-gen students kind of where they are and what are the opportunities to both acknowledge who they are and what they bring, in addition to what this environment requires,” Borrego said.
Andrew Marcus, professor of geography and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at University of Oregon, visited campus on Tuesday. Marcus said his number one goal as dean was to promote student success through making students feel welcomed and have funding available for scholarships to more students.
“Public in my mind means education for all. Something that really is engaging all people who potentially want to receive that education and the institutions such as this, and then supporting them while they’re here in ways that are essential,” Marcus said.
As campus provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Santa Cruz, Marlene Tromp came to campus on Wednesday and spoke on her experiences. Tromp believes in connecting with students on a personal level and goes into student spaces and interacts with them.
She also said she would meet with student organizations on her campus, such as the main student body organization for undergraduate and graduate students and the student diversity groups as well.
“So rather than making top-down executive decisions without connecting with the people who are where the rubber meets the road,” Tromp said. “I want to connect with the students, I want to connect with the staff, I want to connect with the faculty and I want to connect with the community (and) understand what they’re seeing.”
Darren M. Dawson, dean of the College of Engineering at Kansas State, visited campus on Thursday. Dawson spoke about working with students and faculty to create more sustainability for campus by providing financial resources and buildings to house these projects.
“I am positive about working together, we can build on Boise State’s existing strengths to develop innovative undergraduate experiences, expand the resource portfolio and drive economic growth for the state of the nation and the region,” Dawson said.
Edward Seidel, vice president for economic development and innovation for the University of Illinois System, was the final candidate to visit on Friday and spoke about the importance of education and access to low-cost course materials. Seidel said he wants to work with people and develop strategic plans in a collaborative fashion.
“I worked a lot with open access and when I was at the NSF (National Science Foundation) I led the charge with a number of publishers to switch from a closed subscription model to an open model,” Seidel said.
Students and faculty are encouraged to go to the president search website and take each candidates survey. The next step will be interviews with the Idaho State Board of Education and then selecting a president no later than April.