The week of October 14, seven candidates went through semi-public interviews to take over as the next president of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, reported the Lawrence-World Journal.
“I was extremely surprised and impressed by the turnout,” said Ryan Coody, editor of the Indian Leader, Haskell’s campus newspaper, who joined some 120 other students, faculty and staff for the interviews last Wednesday and Thursday.
The Lawrence-World Journal reported that the interviews were conducted by the Bureau of Indian Education, who will decide who gets the job. And attendees were not invited to ask questions, just observe and offer written feedback and recommendations.
Considering the recent problems Haskell has faced and sequestration, some strong leadership is needed at the university.
“Perhaps the top priority for those doing the hiring is to find someone who plans to stay in the job for a number of years and provide active leadership for the school,” said an editorial in the Lawrence-World Journal.
Coody agrees, “Most important is that we have consistent leadership. “It would be nice if they stuck around for a while,” he told the Lawrence-World Journal.
The university has been through a number of presidents in past years. Chris Redman, Haskell’s most recent president resigned in May after two years on the job. Linda Sue Warner’s tenure was longer than Redman’s, but according to the LJ World editorial, she was away much of that time on other assignments for the Bureau of Indian Education. In between Warner and Redman four interim presidents led the university.
According to the LJ-World, federal budget cuts have already taken 5.4 percent of the university’s budget and that could go up to 10 percent for the 2014 fiscal year—a loss of up to $1 million.
Aside from budgetary concerns, the new president will be facing an athletics program that has been put on probation through 2014 by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and less than stellar graduation rates. In July 2011, graduation rates were at about 26 percent.
“The president of Haskell is facing, you know, some challenges,” Michael Lewis, the university’s acting president told the Lawrence-World Journal back in July.