There are no surprises in what Kent State University wants from its next president.

The expectations — outlined in the “Presidential Position Profile” released Thursday — focus on continuing to build on efforts begun under outgoing President Beverly Warren in her five years on the job.

Warren revealed last year that she will retire July 1.

A top mission will be adhering to the priorities laid out in the university’s strategic plan, “A Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State,” the creation of which Warren spearheaded. It names “a deep and unwavering Student First commitment” as its cornerstone.

The next president also will lead the 10-year, $1 billion-plus facilities master plan for the main campus that boasts an enrollment of 27,143 students.

KSU officials call this plan — which trustees approved last year — a “campus transformation” plan.

The first phase includes a new College of Business Administration building that is to front Main Street and be part of an "iconic front campus" that would have more green space and walkways.

Construction of the business college is expected to begin next summer and be completed in time for fall semester 2021 classes.

The new president is expected to advance Kent State’s research mission, as well as focus on boosting revenue. The Kent campus has seen recent enrollment declines. Neighboring University of Akron has suffered steeper declines.

A drop in the number of international students is partly to blame at both schools. At Kent State, an increasing number of students graduate within four years, adding to the decline.

Additionally, fewer students are graduating from Northeast Ohio high schools.

The next president “will champion Kent State’s distinctive advantages in an increasingly competitive market for talented students,” the position profile says.

Warren’s successor also will lead ambitious fundraising efforts as Kent State is in the midst of the “quiet phase” of its largest fundraising campaign ever. KSU officials have said they will not reveal the fundraising goal until the public launch of the campaign, which is expected to be next year.

The last big fundraising effort brought in $265 million, exceeding the $250 million goal. The campaign ran from 2003 to 2012.

May 4 anniversary

One unique aspect of the job is leading the university during the 2019-20 academic commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970, Kent State shootings.

Four students were killed and nine were wounded when the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of protesters on campus.

Additionally, the position profile listed 16 attributes and qualifications, including a “genuine passion for putting students first,” “global awareness at intercultural competence” and “appreciation of the university’s unique history and the capacity to lead with sensitivity and compassion.”

Kent State is posting information about its presidential search at www.kent.edu/presidentialsearch.

Kent State's presidential search committee — made up of faculty, trustees, students, administration, alumni and community representatives — has not publicly outlined how the university's search will be conducted.

If Kent State follows the same process it did in its last two presidential searches, the progress of its search committee will be shielded from public view.

The University of Akron, which also is hunting for a new president, has not yet released a similar job profile. One is expected to be created after public forums to solicit feedback.

Information about the UA search can be found at www.uakron.edu/presidential-search.

In December, UA trustees broadened the school's presidential search committee. The committee — previously made up only of trustees — now includes leaders from various campus groups. At the same time, trustees took steps to close the search process.

The new process no longer requires finalists to be brought to the campus to meet with various groups. UA's presidential search web page links to a statement on the search process that says, "The selection process is expected to remain confidential."

 

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com.