We Need a More Transparent & Inclusive Search For a New Cal State University Chancellor


Posted on 14 June 2012

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By Lillian Taiz
California Faculty Association

As we feared, an announcement regarding the process of searching for a new chancellor of the California State University, issued yesterday by the CSU Public Affairs office, disappoints in a number of important ways.

Although we are gratified that the CSU Board of Trustees plans to hold a meeting “to receive input from CSU stakeholders and the public,” Tuesday’s announcement indicates that a job announcement and position description have already been created, released, and widely circulated.

Concerned system “stakeholders” might very well ask what kind of input the Board is really seeking since the requirements of the job as well as the qualities the Board will seek in candidates will already have been published for over two weeks by the time of the meeting.

We urge the CSU Trustees to adopt the more inclusive and transparent process like the one being undertaken by the Community College System as highlighted in a recent Sacramento Bee editorial.

Furthermore, while not off to an auspicious beginning, there is still time to make the process better. We urge the Trustees to take two very important steps toward providing the next Chancellor with a more harmonious start.

One, make the list of finalists public. No one who has the qualifications to become one of a handful of finalists for Chancellor of the largest system of public four-year higher education in the nation should be embarrassed to have his/her name known publicly.

These ought to be consummate professionals who know that reaching this stage in the hiring process is a sign of respect for their talents and capacity.

Second, allow a selection of the 23 CSU campuses to host visits by the candidates. See how the candidates interact with our campus communities and provide members of the campus and surrounding community the opportunity to get a feel for the quality of the man or woman who will lead this great system.

Do what is needed to get our next leader off on the right foot.

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Lillian Taiz is a professor of History at CSU Los Angeles and President of the California Faculty Association (CFA). CFA is the labor union representing 23,000 faculty members, coaches, counselors and librarians working in the CSU system.