Mount Allison University President and Vice-Chancellor Robert Campbell will complete his term in June 2018. The Board of Regents is currently undergoing the process of finding a new president. The Board has formed a presidential search committee and has contracted executive search firm Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette to help with the process. The committee is asking for student consultation, which might include emailing committee Chair Ron Outerbridge, filling out an online survey, or attending a Town Hall meeting on April 5 or 6. After the committee makes a recommendation to the Board, the executive committee of the Board will make the final decision.
The Argosy asked students and faculty to tell us what they are looking for in the next university president.
Fourth-year biochemistry student
“A president who wasn’t white or male would be a nice change for this university. I think that a big problem here is that the administration doesn’t see or understand experiences that aren’t their own. I think this this school needs someone who can see social and economic situations from a different point of view.”
Department head, Canadian studies
“I would like to see a leadership that works collaboratively to ensure Mt. A leadership on decolonization and divestment. I think it is important that Mt. A be a social leader if we want our students to believe what we say about leadership, responsibility, civic activism and the courage of our convictions.”
Political science professor
“The new president should respect and support transparent, democratic and collegial forms of governance and decision-making at the University.
“The new president should not prioritize bringing money into the University above important ethical considerations, as defined by our university community.”
Kavana Wa Kilele
Second-year women’s and gender studies student
“I would like to see a genuine push for decolonization on campus. I want to see the new president actually engage students in issues that matter to them.
“I would also like the new president to be more accessible to the public.”
Third-year PPE student
“The new president must have a background in anti-oppression, and/or undergo intensive training in anti-oppression….The new president should be an intersectional environmentalist, feminist and ally to people of colour. They must be aware of their academic privilege and understand the power structures of race and other identities. They must be doing some form of active work in dismantling, unlearning and deconstructing those power structures and must be willing to take political stances in a world and environment that is growingly un-neutral.
“Mt. A has a history of being an oppressive ivory tower in the town of Sackville. The new president and vice-chancellor must be willing to understand Mt. A’s place and privilege within this small town and its external community.”
Department head, mathematics and computer science/president of MAFA
“I would like the next president of Mt. A to be an accomplished academic who also has some administrative experience. I hope that the next president will be able to balance her desire to bring a vision and change to Mt. A with a commitment to understand fully what makes Mt. A a vibrant and creative place that supports a community of scholars engaged in learning, teaching and research.”
Irwin also asserted the importance of having presidential candidates visit campus and interact with students and faculty. “Under a system of collegial governance, it should be the college as a whole that decides which candidate receives an offer, with the search committee acting as our representatives.”
Economics professor/secretary of Senate
“I’m aware that being a university administrator is kind of a career path these days, that people develop as deans, vice-presidents, and tend to go from institution to institution. Whoever comes in is very likely to be someone who doesn’t have a lot of prior experience at Mt. A. I want the next president to have the appreciation that we’re different, that some things that work at a bigger school might not work here.”
Department head, economics
“Someone who wants to be here. Someone who views this as a place to develop themselves and develop the place. Someone who is not just interested in self-aggrandizement.
“Someone who is going to be a university president. Someone who is going to be an administrator of a publicly supported institution, not a CEO of a private corporation.
“We want someone who understands that his or her role is primarily to represent the University to all the groups with which the University must interact….The idea that you can do things behind closed doors and that it will always stay that way, that’s not going to work here. There is a necessity to be open and transparent about your goals and to be prepared for those to be debated. This is a university, after all.”
Political science professor
“Given the powers that are associated with the office of president at Mt. A, it’s like being asked what I would like to see in the next czar. Far better that there wasn’t one at all.”