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College seeks permanent president, faculty ask for an academic-minded one

College seeks permanent president, faculty ask for an academic-minded one

By Antonio Garcia

Harold Washington College is taking job applications for the role of president, and faculty have made it clear they want a candidate with a background in education.

Faculty made this clear during the drafting of the next president’s job posting in the college’s “Presidential Search Committee.” The committee is composed of faculty, staff, and one student, as a part of shared governance in the decision making of the next president.

Faculty members of the committee hope the next president is not be business-driven like former Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, who faculty pushed out of office last summer after taking a voting “no confidence” in her leadership.

Candidates should distinguish the difference between running a business and running a school, said Faculty Council President Stephanie Burke.

“One of the main issues in academia right now is operating a school like a business,” said Burke, who serves on the search committee. “Educators understand that and if you are not an educator, it’s difficult to get that a school is not about making money.”

Educational institutions exist to benefit students, not to generate profit, Burke said. 

Burke is also looking for presidential candidates with a strong educational background and respect for academia

“Know who our students are and, by extension, care about our students,” she said. “One of the first things that comes to mind is tuition.”

In 2015, City Colleges raised tuition for all students, but for part-timers the most. Six credit hours cost $600 before the change, but cost $1069 after it. 

The job posting, drafted by the committee and AGB search, said presidential candidates should have a strong background in education, respect for academia, and be concerned with student development. Candidates should promote diversity in the college and promote recruitment, enrollment and retention, according to a first draft, unfinished copy of the posting.

“We’re looking for someone who’s got some college leadership experience,” said Professor Joseph Hinton, one of eight committee members. “We asked there to be a balancing of liberal arts education and workforce interest. This is something that was important.”

In the past Harold Washington College was known as the business college, something that the search committee would like the new president to address.  

“I want someone that has a commitment disciplinary integrity, and I don’t mean discipline in terms of keeping people in line,” Hinton said. “Someone that recognizes the diverse fields that we have to offer and someone who is really attached to foundational education ideas.”

Students, faculty and staff offered opinions on the selection process for the next college president during a Nov. 20 “open forum” hosted by the college’s HR team.

The committee will meet in February to finalize the list of presidential candidates. Chancellor Juan Salgado will pick one from the list for approval by the board of trustees, Hinton said. 

Current Interim President Ignacio Lopez is also a potential candidate for the position. 

The committee is made up of five professors (Kamran Swanson, Stephanie Burke, Bridgette Mahan, Alexander Bean and Joseph Hinton) and three academic staff members (Meghan Chandler, Yolanda Townsend-Smith and Cristina Carrillo)

The committee made the job posting with the help of AGB Search, a firm that helps fill executive positions in higher education.

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