Presidential search committee chair announced

Butler University’s Board of Trustees met last week to determine the makeup of the search committee to continue the process of finding Butler’s next president.

James White, a professor emeritus of Indiana University School of Law, was made chair of the selection committee. Keith Burks, a partner with Bindley Capital Partners out of Indianapolis, will serve as vice chair of the committee.

This is the first step of deciding who will take current president Bobby Fong’s seat as president when the academic year comes to a close.

“This process is not as simple as everyone would like it to be,” John Hargrove, president of the board of trustees, said. “It’s certainly not as simple as I thought it would be.”

The committee will be comprised of 20 members from the Indianapolis community, students, staff, faculty, administration and alumni.

Hargrove said it is crucial for all aspects of the university to be represented in the selection process.

“It’s important to have many voices represented and many different types of voices, simply because of the amount of people that the president will impact,” he said.

Members of the faculty senate—professors with tenure status—will vote to determine four of the six spots
left to represent the faculty of the university.

Ena Shelley, dean of the College of Education, and Margaret Brabant, a professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will represent their respective colleges in the election.

In an e-mail to Butler faculty members, Brabant said she feels this process will represent the colleges well.

“Proportional representation is not possible on this committee, but I believe this plan allows for the selection of faculty representatives who can present their colleagues’ views and aspirations at the level of a presidential search,” Brabant said. “Our senators serve the entire faculty body, as well as their respective colleges, and I believe we can trust our senate representatives who are elected to the search committee to select appropriate candidates for the presidency.”

Faculty senate voting will end Nov. 19 and the members will decided by Dec. 1.

A member of the community of Indianapolis will be represented to provide the committee with a voice outside of the Butler community.

“You want to put the face of the community into the process as much as possible,” Hargrove said. “It’s a reflection of how big of an advocate for the community [Fong] is and what he has done for Butler and Indianapolis.”

Hargrove said he is hopeful that the committee will be able to find a candidate who will fill the spot.

“At the level Butler functions at right now, you can find a lot of people that would want to be the president and come in and run the show,” Hargrove said. “We’re hoping that we don’t make the mistake of finding someone that just doesn’t fit with the university.”

More details about the qualities and traits that the committee will be looking for have been determined.

Hargrove said the committee is looking for someone with administrative and leadership skills.

“Leadership is having a vision and taking a risk,” he said. “Management is minding the store. This isn’t a store that needs minding, it needs leadership.”

Hargrove said before the committee will be able to find a perfect president, they must decide the types of things the university wants to accomplish in the future.

“You have to look and see what level you perceive yourself to be at and determine what the objectives are that lie ahead and that will tell us what kind of president we’re looking for,” Hargrove said.

As Hargrove looks to the future, he said he feels confident that Butler University will have a new president by the time the next academic year rolls around.

“This is our mission and we’re just not going to lose,” Hargrove said. “We will find someone.”

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