On Feb. 20, members of the Presidential Search Committee met with an open group of students to provide updates on the search process, as well as receive feedback as to what students are requesting of their next president.Through the Social Reform Club, students initiated contact with the committee by writing a letter drafted in unity with many other clubs on campus, including Goshen Student Women’s Association, Black Student Union, Prevention Intervention Network, Student Senate as well as several others.
In the letter, the student authors outlined three categories that they wished for the committee to keep in mind during the decision-making process, the first being expectations of a future president.
First on this list was prioritizing the voices of current students. The clubs also preferred that the candidate have experience outside of higher education, especially in activism and community engagement.
The letter also outlined a list of potential candidates for the committee to consider, some of whom are currently a part of Goshen College faculty. Gilberto Perez, senior director of intercultural development and educational partnerships, and Beth Martin Birky, professor of English and women and gender studies, were two of them.
The last request was one that the committee has tried to meet through the aforementioned meeting: transparency throughout the selection of the candidates as well as updates to the student body about the process.
Per the updates provided by the committee, templates have been finalized for reference checking and interviewing the remaining candidates.
President James Brenneman will conclude his term on Jun. 30, after being president of Goshen College for 12 years. Brenneman is responsible for the development of the Center for Intercultural and International Education, accompanying a 15 percent increase in international student attendance.
In addition to the search for a new president, the college has also begun preparing for the search of a new academic dean. Ross Peterson-Veatch was made interim vice president of academic affairs and academic dean in 2015 when Anita Stalter retired after spending 14 years in the position.
The Academic Dean Search Committee is made up of representatives from across all the departments that relate to the position of vice president for academic affairs/academic dean. The committee has been around for several months now working on creating a job description as well as filtering through the first round of video interviews.
Two weeks ago, three potential candidates visited campus and met with faculty, administration and departments that report to the academic dean. This week, the committee will review the information and put forth a recommendation. The Presidential Search Committee plans to present their candidate for president to the board in May.