Committee begins search for new Sac State President

Jacob Abbott

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Members of the presidential search committee began the process of selecting a successor to Alexander Gonzalez, convening for the first time in the University Union Ballroom at Sacramento State on Dec. 3.

The meeting was an open forum intended for the public to address the committee about the needs of the campus, as well as desired characteristics for the new president before the committee’s search begins.

The Trustees Committee for the Selection of the President comprises the Chair of the Board of Trustees, four appointed Trustees and the CSU Chancellor. It worked with an Advisory Committee to determine the attributes desired for a successful candidate.

Steven Glazer, CSU trustee and designated chair of the committee, addressed the audience about TCSP’s commitment to working with the university’s community to find the best candidate for the position.

“To assist that committee of trustees and the performance of their duties, and underscoring the system’s commitment to consultation, community involvement and diversity, we ask the university community to designate representatives to join with us in this collaborative process we are beginning today,” Glazer said.

The 11 members of the Advisory Committee and two professional consultants from both the Chancellor’s office and the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer provide advice to the TCSP and have the ability to suggest potential candidates.

“We are going to open up for public comments so that we can hear your thoughts and perspectives about the process,” Glazer said. “Then we are going to adjourn to a closed meeting of the committee to talk about some of the next steps going forward.”

Tom Krabacher, a Sac State geography professor, said there are more important qualities the committee should be aware of when selecting a new Sacramento State president besides a candidate’s previous work experience or strategic thinking being in line with that of the CSU system.

“I would strongly urge you to look for another characteristic or quality in the president, and that is the willingness to learn the campus culture and to be very careful that they don’t trample that when they move into the position of the presidency,” he said.

Ed Mills, vice president for student affairs, said the university is at a crossroads of continuing to provide access to higher education in the region while being as efficient and effective as possible in helping current students move through their degree programs quickly.

“My request of this committee is to really engage these candidates in thoughtful discussion about how we can continue to provide such an important access to opportunity in our region and to California,” Mills said. “With helping to decrease time to graduation and increasing the success of our students.”

Sac State student Charisse Francis asked the committee to look for a president willing to connect with the student body.

“In your search for the next candidate I hope you choose somebody that’s willing to step outside the world of politics and the administration, and just come talk to the students and let us know what’s going on and hear our voice,” Francis said.

Stacy Hayano, associate vice president for budget planning and administration, said the next president should maintain the university’s transparency.

“I think our current president has done a very good job of having transparency of information on the financial budget information, and I think that’s important to let our campus constituency know what is going on with our money and how it is being spent,” Hayano said.

Twenty-two people addressed the committee during the open forum.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White said it will take a community effort to make the transition work.

“Whoever is the next president, is coming in after a successful presidency,” he said. “Which will make it a very attractive position for somebody to come in and stand on the shoulders of Alex Gonzalez and those who preceded Alex. Once we select this new person we all bear responsibility for him or her to become successful in Sacramento.”

The committee encouraged the university community to email any recommendations or concerns to presidentsearch@calstate.edu.

The TCSP will have a candidate review meeting in February and plans on interviewing applicants starting in March. Once interviews are conducted, the committee will send its recommendations to the Board of Trustees to make the final selection.