What makes a good university president? Should they possess a warm and approachable manner? Or be willing to take responsibility for difficult situations?
These are just some of the questions in the Preferred Presidential Characteristics survey, which allows current students, alumni, faculty, staff and volunteers to make their voices heard in the process of choosing a new president for Plattsburgh State.
The short survey contains 19 questions and was created by RPA Inc., an executive recruitment and consulting firm for higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations, specializing in supporting colleges during presidential transitions. All answers to the survey are confidential and are directly handled outside of the college by RPA.
“They compile the information in a summarized format and give it to the presidential search committee for our review,” Anne Whitmore Hansen, vice president of institutional advancement and executive director of the college foundation, said. “People can feel really free to say whatever they think.”
Hansen, who is also part of the search committee and a campus liaison who works directly with the search firm, stated RPA is the first line of contact with potential candidates, and this survey allows the company to know who PSUC is as a college and what it is looking for in a leader.
Martin Mannix is the chair of the governing body that is the College Council, which has been tasked with coordinating and supporting the search for a new college president. The search for a new campus leader is the first of its kind in 15 years and brought by current President John Ettling’s retirement.
Advertisements for a new president will be sent out shortly, according to Hansen. The end of this search will bring about three candidates which will be personally interviewed and sent through a vetting process by PSUC Chancellor Christina Johnson. PSUC hopes to have its next president appointed by July 1.
“I think that students that are here need to have a voice in who we hire,” Johnson said. “They’re also the voice for future students, so it’s actually a big responsibility to participate in the process.”
The majority of PSUC students received a link to the survey via email from Student Association President Jessica Falace.
“There were about 150 student surveys completed,” Falace said. “As far as I know, RPA will use the information from the survey to search and advertise for possible applicants that best fit our needs.” Falace said.
Hansen said the survey will help RPA make sure the right people are suited to PSUC’s specific needs about the open position. The presidential survey is the first step in the process by offering a “solid collection of information” regarding our school.
“I think the survey results will really enforce the broader perspective,” Hansen said.
The Preferred Presidential Characteristics survey closes midnight Wednesday.

Email Sage Lewandowski at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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