Penn State University is on the hunt again, and this time they’re looking for a new president to head the school. You may be wondering why, considering that they had just appointed a new president, Rodney Erickson, in November of last year.
Erickson, Penn State’s 17th president and former executive vice-president and provost, came into power as an interim president, or a temporary president, after former president Graham Spanier was forced to resign due to information presented in the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The tag of “interim” president was dropped soon after Erickson took office because Penn State Trustees wanted to show that their full support was behind him.
Erickson announced in January of this year, that according to his contract, he will be resigning by June 30, 2014. This is less than two years. Trustee James Broadhurst, chairman of the board’s Committee on Governance and Long-Range
Planning, mentioned that it could take almost a year to find a new president and that they would like to have selected a candidate about five or six months before the current president, Erickson, leaves office. Broadhurst plans on sorting out more details about the searching process in the next few Trustee meetings. He ultimately wants to get the search going full time by January of next year, and have it completed by January of 2014.
Broadhurst proposes that two groups be initiated to help the selection process along: A Trustee Presidential Selection Council (TPSC) and a University Presidential Search and Screen Committee (UPSSC). The composition of these two committees is still tentative but has some detail. The TPSC will have about 12 people in all: the chairman and vice-chairman of the board of trustees, the chairperson from each of the six standing committees, and about four other unspecified people, which could include sitting former presidents. Chairwoman Karen Peetz will lead this committee. Its goal is to “establish the criteria, qualifications, and previous experience required of a presidential candidate,” Broadhurst said.
This committee will also help to decide the make-up of the UPSSC, which will find candidates for president and send them to the TPSC to make a final decision as to who will become the new president. The UPSSC will hold around 16 people, including faculty from University Park and any other Penn State campuses throughout the state.
So far, there has been no speculation as to who might be the new president, but there is still a lot of time. Before Erickson was named president, former Pennsylvania senator Tom Ridge was reported to be a candidate, according to ESPN. For the time being, the process with which they will find the new president is still under construction. The board of trustees has a meeting this month and one more in November to confirm and kick off the searching process.