Way’s Vision for William Paterson

Yulliet Ruiz, News Editor

With the search for William Paterson University’s next president well underway, the final candidates for the position have been narrowed down to the final four.

In one of the final steps of the selection process, the candidates have visited William Paterson and held an open forum where students and faculty can listen to each of their presentations and ask questions.

On February 13th, the first open forum was held for candidate Dr. Philip K. Way. The event was structured by having the biography of the candidate read first. Next, two questions were provided to each of the other candidates before coming to the university: ” Given the current context of public higher education and what you have learned about WPU, what do you feel should be the top three priories in the next three years? And how would you envision helping us move forward?”

After answering that, a few follow-up questions about the presentation were asked by the public to the candidate, followed by two questions that were asked online. Finally, general questions were opened to the public for the remainder of the time.

In Way’s vision for William Paterson University, he said his top three priorities for the university, should he become president, are “recruitment, retention and financial stability.” There has been a decrease in freshman applicants and there have been fewer transfers with not as many older students enrolling. Way cited the recruitment strategies that he enforced during his time at Slippery Rock University. Graduation rates have been declining for males and African-Americans. Way offered to implement a mentorship program for students that could help others that are slipping academically. He also wants to expand on external scholarships help maintain tuition rates stable.

In terms of helping William Paterson move forward, Way outlined four strategies. First, it was essential to have a good foundation. Second, Way wants to create a constructive culture where success is feasible.

“I want to foster a great culture for the workplace, where people are excited to come into work.”

Third, he wants to use his leadership to foster success. He hopes to “aspire to new heights,” and “make the area the best it can be.” He focused on creating a collaborative environment where everybody could contribute.

Finally, he wants to use his recruitment experience to help move the university forward. His idea is to promote William Paterson with having the best value and being affordable and to use data to drive recruitment.

“Overall, he has a good mission. I would want to investigate his background and understand exactly what policies he’s wanting to implement,” said Matthew Diaz, a junior who attended the forum.

Way is currently the interim president of Slippery Rock University. He was previously the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He previously the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs at the University of Alabama, Birmingham for six years. He also worked at the University of Cinncinati for 21 years. Way received his B.A. in Economics from Cambridge University. He received his masters in Industrial Relations from the University of Warwick, as well his Ph.D. in Industrial and Business Studies. He received a teaching fellowship from Harvard University.