MWSU seeks community input in president search

Missouri Western is looking to the community for feedback on what qualities to seek out in the university’s next president.

Posted: Nov 5, 2018 10:53 PM
Updated: Nov 5, 2018 10:57 PM

(St. Joseph,MO) Missouri Western is looking to the community for feedback on what qualities to seek out in the university’s next president. Western recently selected AGB Search to help find successor to current President Dr. Robert Vartabedian, who will be retiring effective July 1, 2019.

Monday the search firm took a tour of the campus and met with students, faculty and community leaders to discuss the the plan for finding the schools next leader.

Board of Governors Chair David Liechti said people are wanting a president with experience who can promote the values of the university.

“It went really smooth all day. We got a lot of great information and a lot of input from different groups,” Liechti said. “I think there is kind of a common theme that I heard today, which is [they want] someone that has strong leadership skills;someone that has vision.”

Jerry Pickman, Executive Director of the Missouri Western State University Foundation, said the university will be searching for someone who can help promote the value of higher education and highlight Western’s open access policy.

“We know that the discourse across the country is questioning the value of a college education, so how can we, in a sense, take a look at Missouri Western and not necessarily reinvent ourselves, but certainly define ourselves and present the critical value that we bring to the community, the region and the state,” Pickman said.

ABG Executive Search Consultant Garry Owens said the meetings will help the university search firm draft an advertisement profile to find the next university president.

“It’s always interesting when you are finding a successor to someone who has been here a very long period of time. Dr. V has been here for 10 years. People are looking very much to what he’s done over that course of time,” Owens said. “But obviously as you have an opportunity for new leadership they are looking for new leadership they are tweaking things here and doing a little different things there. It’s been very interesting to see what opinions are and it’s up to us to try to find ways to bring all of those ideas together as a whole.”

Western's presidential search committee doesn’t have a tentative date for their next public meeting, but plans to begin evaluating job candidates by early 2019.

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