Retired faculty discuss hopes for new president, future of campus

Sonoma State University’s Chapter of the Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association held a panel discussion last Thursday to begin the process of searching for a new president and discuss the qualities they want in a new president

They discussed many issues they hope to address before the search and how they envision Sonoma State’s future. Each panelist commented on what they believe makes a good leader. Students will have the opportunity to play a role in choosing a new president by attending the first public presidential search meeting on Thursday in Ballroom A of the Student Center from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

“The search for the next president is a closed process until he or she is announced, however, we want to get a resolution passed to make it more open,” said Richard Senghas, chair of the faculty and member of the search committee.

“It is essential with the new president that they make one of our priorities towards having a better budget for the faculty,” said Andy Merrifield, former president of Sonoma State’s chapter of the California Faculty Association.

Sonoma State’s retired and emeritus faculty hope there will be a balance between what Sonoma State adminstration does and the resources the university needs to carry out their goals.

The panelists believe the campus spends the least amount of money on the direct education of students and they hope to have that changed in the future. The association would also like to see the problem of debt resolved so faculty can feel more supported by the university.

“One of the main issues is faculty working conditions and how it will affect students opportunity to learn,” said Elaine Newman, president of the California Faculty Association and elected faculty member of the search committee.

A common idea important to the panelists was faculty and curriculum development and administrative support, as well as maintaining the progress of the university by keeping students interested in attending Sonoma State.

“Leadership is most important to keep a sound environment,” said Ben Ford, elected faculty member on the search committee.

A huge part of what they believed to be an issue was discretion on campus. They want the university’s next president to be more involved with how students are being treated with the local community. The faculty also want Sonoma State to have a stronger connection with the Santa Rosa Junior College so that their students will want to transfer to the campus.

“Having a more diverse campus will enrich our culture and curriculum at campus” said Carmen Works, vice chair of the faculty and vice president of the CFA.