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Online survey steers search for next Chancellor
Online survey steers search for next ChancellorOctober 30, 2003Sandi Mulconrysandi@groupmcom.com
Since last spring, 700 members of the University community have responded to an online survey created to aid the Chancellor’s Search Committee in recommending candidates to serve as Syracuse University’s 11th Chancellor.
Respondents included 370 students, 128 staff members, 118 alumni, 66 faculty and 17 friends.
The survey appeared on the Chancellor’s Search Web site ( http://sunews.syr.edu/chancellorsearch/index.html ) from May to September. Results were coded and analyzed by the Center for the Support of Teaching and Learning.
Below are the questions that were asked, and a summary of the responses elicited.
Listed most often were the need for outstanding leadership skills (someone who has a vision, who is willing to take risks and try new things, who is innovative); administrative skills (including the ability to motivate and work in groups); financial skills (including fund-raising, cost containment, growing the endowment); communication skills (the ability to speak effectively in public as well as listen to concerns raised); and the ability to relate well to all campus constituencies.
Personal characteristics desired include honesty, integrity, friendliness, confidence, good interpersonal skills, and a sense of humor.
Also identified were the need for the next Chancellor to have a strong academic and scholarly background, an interest in students’ perspectives, an understanding of Division I athletics, an interest in and the ability to enhance SU’s academic reputation, and commitment to the institution and the community.
Chancellor and President Kenneth A. Shaw received praise from many of the respondents, who cited his communication skills, leadership and personality, and expressed hope that the committee would “find someone like Chancellor Shaw” to build on his vision.
A number of students said they’d like a Chancellor who is visible to them, walks around campus, and attends a variety of student events.
Several of the respondents cited a preference for a female or minority candidate, to reflect the diversity of society and the campus community.
Mentioned most often were the University’s educational quality, national reputation (including its reputation as a student-centered research university), specific schools and colleges, intellectual diversity, diversity of the campus community, research, athletics, location, people (the quality and commitment of faculty, staff and students and the strong alumni base), traditions (including core values), welcoming environment, and the beauty of its campus.
Challenges cited most often were financial (maintaining financial stability without raising tuition too much); maintaining and expanding SU’s commitment to diversity (including addressing the needs of students with disabilities); improving SU’s standing in national rankings; the need for continuous improvement in academic standards; maintaining a high-quality student body; maintaining, improving and expanding buildings and grounds; recruiting and retaining high-quality faculty and staff; maintaining and improving the quality of our athletics programs without sacrificing academic quality; balancing the demands of teaching and research; balancing the needs of a diverse campus community; and maintaining the focus of a student-centered research university.
Several respondents mentioned issues that were of particular concern to them but did not fit within any of the general categories. These include political correctness, the University of Michigan’s affirmative action case, the Big East/ACC situation, the need for closer ties between the University and the city of Syracuse, overcrowding of classrooms and the need for expanded facilities, the need to support and expand library facilities, the importance of our alumni base to future fund raising and career placement, security for students on campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods, and the need to balance the educational side of the University with the University’s business interests.