Mary-Elizabeth Pratt, ’15
The time has come for Wittenberg to pick the newest member of its administrative family. Through a long and dedicated search, the committee to find a new Vice President of Finance and Administration has whittled the pool of candidates to three, and over the course of three days, presented these candidates to faculty, staff, and students. The three candidates met with several groups of staff and students, and held open forums so that everyone could ask questions to get a better understanding of the candidates. Those whom met with the candidates were then encouraged to use MyWitt to give feedback on each of the candidates.
Provost Chris Duncan, who is also on the search committee, said that it is a long-standing Wittenberg tradition to have students involved in every aspect of their educational experience, and having students on the search committees and various boards throughout the university is simply a natural outgrowth of this. “There was even a student on the board that selected me,” he added. Every aspect of the university has some touch from the student body, especially in search committees. There are two students on the search for the new Athletic Director, one student on the search for the Vice President of Finance, and there was a student on the committee that chose current president Laurie Joyner. The university, including the Provost and President, strive to have students “feel like full partners in those conversations, so they don’t feel like second-class citizens,” concluded Duncan.
On Wednesday, Sept. 25, students and staff met with Robert Munson, who has most recently held the position of Vice President of Finance at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Munson focused strongly on transparency and involving the entire university on decisions where a large part of staff or students are involved. Munson also has worked in the private and public sectors, with 12 of his 29 years of experience working at a university.
On Thursday, Sept. 26, Sydney Leo took questions as well. Leo most recently worked at LionRose Strategic Higher Education Consultants. She focused heavily on getting universities like Wittenberg out of the rough financial times that they have fallen into. While never having worked directly for a university, Leo spent 25 years consulting for institutions.
On Friday, Sept. 27, Susan Tate met with students and staff and discussed what she felt was her God-given path to helping higher learning institutions in dire financial times. Tate worked most recently at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio where Tate focused on her increase in efficiency and overall balancing of the budget.
The findings and opinions of those on the search committee will be presented to President Joyner, in addition to the feedback from students, administration, and faculty. “I’d be very surprised if she did not make a decision within the week,” Provost Duncan said. The new Vice President and their start date will be presented to the public within the next few weeks after negotiations.