WPU community expresses wishes for next university president

A+room+inside+Hobart+Manor%2C+the+19th+century+building+the+8th+WPU+president+will+occupy.

Photo courtesy of WPUNJ.edu

A room inside Hobart Manor, the 19th century building the 8th WPU president will occupy.

Todd Evans, Staff Writer

As the search for the next president of William Paterson University continues, campus community members contemplate their expectations and goals for their future leader.

The search process began last summer when current WPU President Dr. Kathleen Waldron announced her plans to retire after this academic year from the post she has held since 2010

Some community members like Andrew Massefski, who serves as a student representative to the board of trustees, want the next president to have a vision of progress and change for the 162-year-old institution.

“They’re going to have to go into the nitty-gritty, and they’re going to have to do the things that are tough, that are hard,” said Massefski. “The things that not everybody is going to exactly want to do because it’s going to be a lot of work and a lot of change, but the things that they need to do if they really want to take William Paterson and bring it to that next level.”

Photo courtesy of WPUNJ.edu
A room inside Hobart Manor, the 19th century building the 8th WPU president will occupy.

The improvement of academic advisement is an issue that Massefski thinks the next president should focus on because it may, in turn, improve the university’s four-year graduation rate.

“At other institutions, I’ve been told by students that they lay out your four years with all your classes, with study abroad built in, with your clubs and activities built in; everything is already laid out,” he said.

Of New Jersey’s 11 public colleges and universities WPU is tied second to last with Kean University in four-year graduation rate, according to statistics from the Department of Education.

While other community members like SGA Vice President of Student Life Nahshon Bolton would like the 8th president to be relatable to students.

“On the campaign trail I had the opportunity to speak to many of the students here at William Paterson,” Bolton said. “The sentiment that a lot of students had in common was that they wanted an individual that is not afraid to get down and talk to students and go to events and show their face and not just be in their office all high and mighty for 24 hours a day.”

A common request among faculty and professional staff is for Waldron’s successor to better communicate with campus unions and in general with university employees.

“We’ve typically been told when a policy has been done, we have not been part of the conversation, and that is important to faculty,” said Dr. Arlene Holpp Scala, faculty senate executive committee chairperson. “That is important for faculty morale.”

Scala, who attended the institution in the 1960s when it was still named Paterson State Teachers College, also wants a president who will understand the student body.

“Of course we want somebody who really will respect our student body. We have students from suburbia, we have students from urban communities, we have students with a lot of struggles financially and other ways,” she said.

The Presidential Search Committee is led by Trustee Linda Niro with its membership comprised of professors Ronald Verdicchio, Susanna Tardi, Cyril Ku, Arlene Holpp Scala, Dean Kara Rabbitt, Associate Dean Jean Fuller-Stanley, administrators Maribel Rodriguez, Carmen Ortiz, Alumni Association President Domenico DiMaio, WPU Foundation President Aaron Van Duyne III, students Brianna Egers, Brock Borgeson and trustees Michael Seeve and William Pesce.

WPU has hired executive search firm Greenwood/Asher and Associates to recruit candidates.