USC Administrators Evaluate Next Steps in Presidential Research After Best Bolts | Colombia News


COLUMBIA – A day after the University of South Carolina’s top pick withdrew from the race for the school’s top job, administrators gathered to weigh their options on December 6.

The board had planned to invite Purdue University’s dean of engineering, Mung Chiang, to campus on Dec. 9 for meetings with staff and students ahead of a board vote for the presidency of the university.

Instead, the board of trustees of the state’s largest university finds itself faced with the decision to choose a new president from four other candidates recommended by a special research committee or to reopen research all together. .

As the board considers other possibilities, management was quick to point out that it is not necessary for a candidate to meet publicly with the university community at large, according to a campus-wide letter signed. by President Dorn Smith and Vice President Thad Westbrook who went just before the evening meeting.

Had Chiang not withdrawn his candidacy, citing family considerations, he would have attended four agreed virtual roundtables hosted by the university faculty Senate.

“The intention of these virtual panels was to ensure broad stakeholder participation,” the board’s letter read, but it was not clear whether the same process would be followed with other candidates.

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Also in the letter, it is also noted that “neither state law nor university policy requires a candidate to publicly meet with stakeholders for any personnel search.”

After meeting for nearly two hours behind closed doors, Westbrook, who headed the search committee, declined to answer further questions.

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Chiang had been the candidate targeted by the research jury and the board of trustees due to his resume which includes degrees from Stanford University and awards won while teaching at Princeton University, as well. as oversight of strategic initiatives at Purdue. Chiang was being courted to lead other colleges, USC officials said, so they sought to act quickly.

Professors raised questions at USC’s Dec. 1 Faculty Senate meeting about not being given the opportunity to weigh in on multiple candidates. The president of the Senate of the faculty, Audrey Korsgaard, assured the professors that they would be satisfied with the choice.

The faculty has been on high alert due to political influence during the latest presidential search, which resulted in the hiring of retired Army General and West Point Superintendent Bob Caslen in 2019. His hire led to protests on campus over his inexperience in higher education and sanctioning of accreditors based on lobbying by Governor Henry McMaster.

To date, four other presidential candidates – including two African Americans, a woman and a white man – have interviewed the full board at the request of the special search committee.

At the December 6 meeting, the board officially received the recommendation of the remaining candidates as potential hires.

The state’s public information law requires the board of directors to reveal the names and other documents related to the last three considered candidates, but it has yet to nominate “finalists”, keeping the names under wraps.

Chiang had been the favorite among more than 50 candidates to succeed Caslen, who resigned from USC in May amid a plagiarism scandal.

Trustees wished the 44-year-old Chinese native and leader of Purdue’s largest college good luck after choosing to stay with his current employer.

Andy shain contributed from Colombia.


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