Faculty speak out about secretive nature of closed searches


Photo courtesy of the University Employees Union.

Over 1,200 faculty and students have responded to the survey conducted by the CSU Employees Union asking whether they support open or closed searches for university presidents so far, and 83% support an open search policy.

With Chico State currently in the search for a new president, many faculty feel left in the dark when it comes to a decision which will effect them greatly.

“One benefit of open searches could be that more faculty, students and staff have exposure to candidates and are in a position to offer their experiences and opinions about those people to those who are on the search committee.” said Laura Sparks, an English professor at Chico State. “So facilitating that kind of communication could be really helpful when you got a university trying to change direction.”

Policy regarding presidential searches changed to a closed policy in 2011 allowing the names of finalists and when they come to visit the campus to be private.

“It could exclude the people that are most effected by the decisions of this new person in power.” Sparks added. “The more people that have a chance to weigh in the better, in terms of establishing trust.”

The survey is still open to students and staff, and can be completed here.

Elizabeth Helmer can be reached at [email protected] or @lizziehelmer on Twitter.