On Tuesday, November 27th, Board of Trustees Chair Ruth Shapiro Lenrow (‘74) announced to students, faculty, and staff through an Office of Communications email blast that a Presidential Search Committee had been formed. The committee will ultimately be responsible for selecting Goucher’s next president.
Led by trustees Miriam Katowitz (’73) and Lisa Stromberg (’83), the committee is comprised of two students, Marissa de La Viez (‘19) and Josiah Meekins (19), two staff members, three faculty members, and 11 trustees, three of whom are members of the Alumnae & Alumni of Goucher College (AAGC).
“As I’ve been sharing with many recently, the process for selecting a new President is exclusively the Board’s responsibility, with assistance and input from the campus community,” Dean Brian Coker commented over email.
De La Viez and Meekins will be representing the student body as the committee selects a search firm and eventually reviews applicants. “The presidential search committee co-chairs (both Board of Trustees members) and the current Board chair considered graduating seniors who have been involved on campus to serve as student representatives on the committee,” Coker explained. “They then chose a few students to be interviewed, and my office assisted in coordinating the interviews. Once the interviews were complete, the committee co-chairs and the Board chair then selected two of the students who had interviewed to serve as the student representatives.”
“It was totally out of the blue and I felt so honored!” De La Viez said over an email. “I hope that we find somebody who is able to connect with the students, someone personable, someone who is capable of empathy and understanding different perspectives. I also think it would be important to have someone who works on enhancing Goucher with the assets we already have rather than just bringing in a bunch of shiny new things to grab attention.”
Meekins was equally as shocked to be selected to the committee, though he wishes that there were more opportunities for student input in the presidential search process. “Even though I’m honored and happy to be in this position […] two students can’t speak for the whole student body,” he explained in an interview. “Being an African American male on this search committee is exciting because I experience Goucher in different ways than other people experience the Goucher community. Goucher needs diversity in choosing the next President.” When asked what qualities he would be looking for in candidates, Meekins said transparency, leadership, and compassion were his top priorities. “We don’t want any miscommunication between the President and the student community. We want a president who listens to students and faculty […] I’d like to see a candidate put in place that’s going to, not just be a president, but embody what the Goucher community is about […] but also see it grow.”
“I am grateful to these incredibly dedicated community members for sharing their time and insight. We feel confident that the committee will embody a wide array of viewpoints and perspectives as we search to find the next leader of Goucher College,” Shapiro Lenrow stated in her email announcement.
As reported previously in The Quindecim, Shapiro Lenrow had announced on October 19th that President José Bowen would be stepping down as President on June 30, 2019. Her announcement was followed by an open meeting held by Coker (livestream video for which is available on The Quindecim’s Facebook page) in which he described the typical hiring process for colleges and universities: 1) the selection of a search firm as an applicant “recruiter” 2) the chosen firm’s creation of a position profile based on a listening campaign (potentially including a survey for students) and collected data 3) a preliminary round of interviews 4) the final interviews and 5) the final selection.
The committee plans on creating a more comprehensive timeline in the upcoming weeks and has planned to provide an update to the Goucher community prior to winter break.
BY OLIVIA BAUD AND NEVE LEVINSON