Floyd on national panel aiding Ohio State with search

FloydPULLMAN, Wash. – Ohio State University will convene a panel of five national higher education leaders to help select its next president, and the group includes Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd.

“This is truly an all-star assembly of leaders in American higher education,” said moderator Richard Chait, professor emeritus at the Harvard Graduate School of education.

The search committee intends the panel – scheduled for Friday, Aug. 30 – to set the tone for the search process, which is anticipated to take a year. In a conversation among colleagues, panelists will consider the challenges and opportunities facing leaders in higher education.

The purpose of the gathering is to help the search committee better understand “the larger environment for research universities and the challenges their presidents face,” Chait said. The leaders’ counsel and perspectives will help shape how the search committee thinks about the presidency and the search.

The panel will conduct a public discussion of questions such as:

* Are research universities in crisis?
* Is the business model broken and, if so, what must change?
* What keeps me awake at night?
* Is presidential leadership bold and visionary, subtle and organic or some combination of both?
* Is shared governance still a vital, viable concept?
* Are there essential attributes and/or behaviors of successful university presidents?

The panel will participate in a closed executive session with university trustees and search committee staff to focus particularly on Ohio State. They will consider such questions as:

* What are the most and least attractive aspects of this presidency?
* What will candidates take into account in assessing this board of trustees as a prospective partner?
* What worries new presidents about their predecessors? Can these concerns be mitigated?

Leaders joining Floyd on the panel are Lawrence S. Bacow, president emeritus of Tufts University; Scott S. Cowen, president of Tulane University; Thomas W. Ross, president of the University of North Carolina system; and Teresa A. Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia.

Ohio State is expected to have a new president selected by fall 2014. Former president E. Gordon Gee retired on July 1, about a month after jokes he made about Catholics, other universities and a rival athletic conference last year were made public.