AAUP @ UNE statement on Presidential Search
Given the unique role that faculty play at an institution and the high likelihood that a new president will shape the academic programming, priorities and culture of the institution, the AAUP and our chapter recognizes the “The Primacy of Faculty Concern” when it comes to a presidential search. Indeed, the faculty have a distinct ability to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats regarding UNE’s ability to perform our core function of educating students. Thus, to enhance the likelihood of a successful search, we believe it is important for the successful candidate and new president to have the full support of the faculty and community at large. Moreover, we believe a successful president will enter the new position with a firm understanding of our culture and current strengths and weaknesses that can only be acquired through robust community interaction.
In addition, we recognize the need for privacy when attracting high quality candidates. Many candidates who are initially interested in the position do not want to put their current position at risk. Moreover, many candidates may find that once they advance in the process, the position is not a good fit. Thus, we concur with the AAUP’s statement that: “Institutions should respect the confidentiality of candidates for [faculty and administrative] positions. The institution may contact references, including persons who are not identified by the candidate, but it should exercise discretion when doing so. An institution should not make public the names of candidates without having given the candidates the opportunity to withdraw from the search”. The difficulty comes in balancing the need for robust faculty interaction with the privacy of candidates. Therefore, the University of New England Chapter of the AAUP endorses the following procedures regarding the presidential search process.
- In order to give the candidate the most accurate impression of UNE possible, the interactions with the various stakeholders should be as broad as possible.
- If candidates require more confidential arrangements, student, staff and faculty stakeholders should have input through a representative system that is transparent and is supported by the community at large.
We also endorse the following qualities as essential from finalists in order to be successful at UNE:
- Successful candidates should be individuals who seek to understand the University from a variety of perspectives, including interactions with faculty, staff, and students both during the application process and during their tenure as president.
- Successful candidates will be experienced with academia, including its unique culture and structure. These candidates will recognize teaching, learning and creation of knowledge as uniquely valuable in and of themselves.
- Successful candidates will believe that our students are the ultimate stakeholder and the long-term overall success of UNE is inextricably tied to the quality of the education and preparation we provide them.