Choosing a president: University Style

by Dylan Ruffra

While the United States is in the midst of picking our next president, so is the University of North Dakota (UND). This January our president retired and a couple days later our interim president started the job. Over the course of this academic year, UND has had tons of candidates apply for the position of president. In the beginning of the year they narrowed down the candidates list and started to offer interviews. They have now narrowed it down to a top six and started to offer on campus interviews to those individuals. As there is different listening sessions that the university is holding for each candidate, some of things I think are most important for a university president to have are being personable, having experiences within different roles at the university setting and great organizational skills.

As candidates are coming on campus I think it is important that they show they will be personable. It is important to have a president who wants to be with students and hear what they are saying. As students are one of their biggest customers it is important that they are meeting their needs. When looking for a good candidate it is important to have someone who will take the students needs into consideration. Presidents of universities should be the kind of people who have an open door policy and encourage students to walk in. By having a president who is personable, they will earn the respect of students and be liked by staff as well.

Presidential candidates should also have a wide variety of experiences that are comparable while working at a university. Having experience in multiple areas will help the university grow in new direction. By providing comparable experiences, the president will already know how to do some of their responsibilities. Some similar experiences that I think are important are balancing a comparable budget, working with a board of trustees and dealing with a similar sized institution. The experiences let you know how the candidates will transition into the job.

I think with applying to the University President position or any job, organization is a top skill that will be needed. As you are meeting different groups it is important to stay on top of things. While you are running an university there are many tasks that you are going to stay on top of. Being president of a university you need to know who you are going to be meeting with on a daily basis and how to keep your schedule organized. Also, working with large budget will also be a big task where you need to show your organization. As candidates take this new role they need to show that they are ready for this this challenge.

There are many qualities the university presidential candidates needs to have. It is interesting to see each candidate as they come to campus and see how they compose themselves. What are some of the qualities you would look for in an university president?

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