Vol. 13, No. 1 September 29, 1998
"Presidential search is like Aan Easter egg hunt: many people want to participate, and thousands want to watch."
Robert M. Hyde, "The Presidential Search: Chore or an Opportunity?" Educational Record, Spring 1969, p. 186.
During this academic year, a search committee composed of KCC faculty, students, alumni and Board of Trustee members will select three candidates for the presidency of KCC and present them to the entire Board for consideration. The Board of Trustees will then select one of the three and appoint him or her to the most sought after presidency in CUNY. It has been rumored that Governor George Pataki, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and some Board members each has a choice and will make every effort to influence the Committee and the Board.
This is the first time in almost thirty years that KCC is presented with an opportunity to select a new president, one who will take KCC into the new millennium. The late Leon M. Goldstein invested vision, leadership and much hard work into assuring that KCC become the jewel among the CUNY community colleges. KCC, an outstanding institution, deserves the best leadership that we can find. We do not have to settle for anything less.
With this in mind, The Patriot urges the Search Committee to include the following ten criteria in selecting our new president. The Committee should insist that
1) The candidate have an earned academic Ph. D. from a reputable institution, and not an Ed.D. It is all right for some members of the faculty in certain disciplines to have Ed. D.'s, but not the President of the college, the highest ranking officer of the academic institution.
2) The candidate have at least one book ( if not more) published by a reputable publisher and a minimum of three articles in refereed journals. No member of the faculty gets appointed or promoted to higher rank without a significant record of publication. Why should the President of the college not have a good record of scholarly publications?
3) The candidate should have had at least five years of classroom teaching experience. In the enterprise of education, classroom teaching is the primary activity of the college. It is crucial that the chief executive officer of the college know and have experienced first-hand the pains and pleasures of teaching.
4) The candidate have had administrative experience with visibility among students, faculty and the college community and that s/he not have worked behind the scenes all his/her administrative career. Experience shows that these types of administrators are likely to be autocratic authoritarians who are not concerned with the often devastatingly adverse effects of their decisions on innocent constituencies.
5) The candidate honor and respect the democratically derived decisions of college faculty, appointed and/or elected committees and elected chairs.
6) The candidate know or will quickly learn how to walk and talk in the offices and corridors of Albany, City Hall, and the 80th street. S/he must know how to bring in the pork from the powerful legislature, the City Council, the Board of Trustees and the Chancellor so that KCC can maintain its high quality service to its students and bring to fruition its projected building program.
7) The candidate is able to communicate with fluency, ease, spontaneity and humor with students, faculty, the Board and outside constituencies, and that s/he mix and interact with scholars, social and cultural elites, and political leaders with relative ease. We demand reading, writing and speech skills from our students and expect faculty to be good at these skills. Why should we not expect superior communications skills from the college president?
8) The candidate should be committed to strategic planning for the future and s/he should not be fearful of implementing innovative measures in order to bring real reforms to the college administration whether those reforms affect registration and admissions, enforcing standards in teaching and grading, or technology in our classrooms, laboratories and library. The candidate should also be committed to educational excellence, and should be serious about maintenance of academic standards.
9) The candidate have good moral character that can serve as a beacon to our faculty, students and staff. The candidate should not have a history of allegations of improprieties, of scandals, of inappropriate behavior or sexual harassment.
10) The candidate affirm in writing that s/he does not have a history of placing his/her current or former lover/s into undeserved positions, for such conduct is unworthy of the president. Suffice it to say that this behavior is not good for campus morale.
If we wish to continue with the late President Goldstein's dreams and legacy and not destroy what he has built, then it is imperative that we get the best, that we not settle for a second-rate or third-rate bureaucrat.
PS: You may make photocopies and share this Patriot Returns with your friends and colleagues at KCC and in CUNY. Thank you.
Editor: Sharad Karkhanis, Ph. D., Library Department, Kingsborough Community College. (718) 368-5639. Fax: (718) 368-5481. E mail: SKarkhanis@kbcc.cuny.edu