“Do we want a Jesuit?”
This was one of the first questions Presidential Search Committee chair Bob Parkinson asked the University Senate.
The University Senate, a group of university representatives from all departments, was joined by members from the Presidential Search Committee at its Dec. 4 meeting.
The presidential search was the primary topic of the afternoon. Parkinson, who is also the Chair of the Board of Trustees, went through some key aspects of the search:
- It will be a closed search. Open versus closed searched entail whether the public will know who the candidates are and have open access to the search. The presidential search will be closed because the search committee is looking at sitting presidents and provosts who will want to remain confidential.
- While the Board of Trustees would prefer a Jesuit, according to Parkinson, he said, “There’s a very real possibility the next president of this university will be a non-Jesuit.” A number of years ago the Board of Trustees saw this possibility and changed Loyola’s bylaws to allow for a lay president.
- The final definite item Parkinson covered was that the president will be Catholic. When a senate member raised the question of a qualified candidate familiar with Jesuit and Catholic principles, Parkinson responded, “To be completely open with you, pursuing that would be high risk.” He believes it would impact a variety of aspects of the university including donors.
The search committee members present then went over some ideas they’ve heard over the last week in conversations throughout campus. Community members have asked for the following ideas to be kept in mind:
- Developed financial acumen to be able to run the business side of a university.
- Someone who will address fractioning within the university and horizontal integration.
- A candidate who cares about social justice both on campus and off campus. Additionally, someone who actually cares rather than pays “lip service” to social justice.
On the idea of an internal versus an external candidate, Parkinson said most people don’t care. Some of the senate members, though, including Institute of Environmental Science Professor Kelly Garbach and Sociology Professor Talmadge Wright, encouraged external options to get some new input.
“I mean clearly we’re looking for super woman or super man,” Parkinson said, trying to get the point across that the committee is hoping to get everything it wants out of the next president.
The search committee plans to have a candidate selected in the late spring or early summer, according to Parkinson.