Forums to gather public input on search for new Penn State president

Penn State will hold three forums next week to get input from employees and students about what characteristics they want the next university president to have.

The first two forums are on March 21: from 1 to 2 p.m. in the HUB Auditorium and from 6 to 7 p.m. in 105 Forum. The third is from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. March 22 in Paterno Library’s Foster Auditorium.

Representatives from Isaacson Miller, the recruiting firm Penn State hired to help with the search process, will be there.

Faculty, staff and students who attend will be asked to share their ideas about the following:

• the challenges and opportunities Penn State will face in the next 10 years;

• the qualifications, experiences and attributes the next president should have; and

• other considerations that the search firm and the two internal search committees should keep in mind.

The session on March 22 will be broadcast online so that participants at Penn State branch campuses will be able to participate.

Penn State President Rodney Erickson has said he will retire by June 30, 2014, and university officials have begun the initial phases of the process to search for his replacement. Erickson replaced Graham Spanier, who was forced out in the first few days after the indictment of Jerry Sandusky, in November 2011.

The university hired the recruiting firm to cultivate an expansive pool of candidates. Penn State trustees have said they are seeking candidates from academic as well as private industry.

The pool of candidates will be screened and narrowed down by a committee composed of faculty and staff, including Lady Lions coach Coquese Washington.

The list of candidates that make the cut will be forwarded to the Trustee Presidential Selection Council, and the members will further narrow down the list.

The next president at Penn State could see different powers from what Erickson and Spanier have had. The university’s board of trustees is considering a number of reforms, one of which is whether the president should have voting power.