The same day a document summarizing Ohio State’s best qualities was approved by the Board of Trustees, the Presidential Search Committee chairman said whoever is selected as the next president might not take the helm of the university until the beginning of Fall Semester 2014.
“We did some analysis on how long it takes to find a president in an open, public search. The data tells us it’s about 300 days. We’re about 120 days in,” Presidential Search Committee Chairman Jeffrey Wadsworth said at the Friday Board of Trustees meeting. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to be looking for another 180, but if we find somebody in a couple of months, they may still not be able to start until the start of the academic year.”
The recently released 63-page university portrait, drawn up by the Presidential Search Committee advisory subcommittee, mentions that the university president reports to the Board of Trustees, and highlights the definition of the president’s role as written in the Board bylaws.
The president is the chief executive officer of OSU and is responsible for the administration of the university, but is subject to the Board’s control and does not have authority over “functions reserved exclusively to the senior vice president for Business and Finance and chief financial officer and trustees,” the bylaws read.
The excerpt in the portrait also discusses the president’s leadership duties.
“The president shall lead in fostering and promoting education and research as the primary aims of the university. It shall be the duty of the president to enforce the bylaws, rules and regulations of the Board of Trustees, and, as a member of the faculty, to interpret the Board proposals and actions of the faculty,” it read.
The document underlines the achievements of OSU students, faculty and staff, as well as the contributions of alumni and various partnerships and agreements in which OSU is involved. In particular, it details that OSU’s parking privatization deal and agreement with Huntington Bank, worth $483 million and an approximate upfront payment and investment of $125 million, respectively, have allowed the university to generate funds for things including faculty initiatives, scholarships and investments in the neighborhoods around the Columbus campus.
The portrait’s “culture” section features the OSU Marching Band and briefly mentions its recent viral halftime show videos.
One YouTube video of the band’s video game performance during the OSU football team’s 2012 season has more than 15 million views, while a video of the band’s Hollywood Blockbusters halftime show Oct. 26 has more than 12.9 million views and a BuckeyeTV video of a Michael Jackson tribute halftime show Oct. 19 has more than 8.7 million views.
Some OSU students agreed that the band is an asset to the university’s appeal.
“The band’s an important part of the university. I lived in Lincoln (Tower) my freshman year and they practice in that field in front of Lincoln and every day I would come out and I would see them playing and they’re so good. I would see the awesome things that they (were) doing. That was probably the part that made me feel the most at home here at Ohio State,” said Isabel Bozada, a third-year in early childhood education.
Different sources of the university’s funding are broken down in the portrait as well — the majority of OSU’s funding comes from tuition and fees at 30 percent, the rest is divided up between grants and contracts, state support, gifts, auxiliary sales, educational department sales and “other.”
Undergraduate Student Government President Taylor Stepp, a fourth-year in public affairs who is on the advisory subcommittee, said he was satisfied with the finished document.
“I thought the university portrait looked fantastic. The office of communications and the search committee put a lot of work into it, I believe, and I think that anyone who’s looking at the document itself will get a good sense of all that Ohio State has to offer,” Stepp said.
Bozada said though Wadsworth’s comments suggested the committee might find someone sooner rather than later, she doesn’t think there’s any hurry.
“The university’s marching on, we’re doing fine. It’s no rush but if they get done sooner, cool,” she said.
Other students said they aren’t concerned with when the university finds the next president either.
“I haven’t really noticed there being a difference with there not being a (permanent) president, I don’t even think about that very much,” said Dylan Bram, a third-year in music.
Bram said one characteristic of OSU he would emphasize in a document like the portrait is diversity.
“There’s so much diversity in what you can do,” Bram said. “There’s just a ton of different kind of people with different interests all in the same place, which is really cool.”
The portrait’s section about OSU’s diversity includes information about OSU being named one of the top-25 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-friendly colleges and universities, statistics about how 17 percent of OSU students are of domestic ethnic minorities and numbers focusing on more than 20 percent of full-time professors being women in the 2012-13 academic year.
The presidential profile, an eight-page document about the desired qualities and experience of the next university president that was also drawn up by the advisory subcommittee and was finalized in early October, was officially approved at the Friday Board meeting as well.
OSU’s contract with private search firm R. William Funk & Associates was finalized in September. OSU is set to pay the firm a fixed fee of $200,000, as well as reimburse the firm for direct, out-of-pocket expenses and an additional cost of $20,000 to cover administrative and support expenses, according to the contract.
It has been more than five months since former OSU President E. Gordon Gee announced his retirement June 4. Gee retired July 1, the same day Interim President Joseph Alutto assumed the position.
The announcement of Gee’s retirement came days after controversial remarks he made at a Dec. 5 OSU Athletic Conference became public. Comments about Notre Dame and the Southeastern Conference in particular brought national attention.
While Stepp couldn’t say what exactly the advisory subcommittee’s role will be moving forward, he said the process is ever evolving.
“I can tell you that the selection committee and really the whole Presidential Search Committee has been involved in a variety of ways in the process, and although I don’t know exactly what we’re going to be doing as the process unfolds … it’s a very fluid process,” he said. “We are taking recommendations very seriously, we’re looking at the feedback from the community and that’s all been very important with our search.”