Today the UH System Board of Regents is expected to select its finalist for the next UH president.
Whichever finalist ultimately takes the role now held by Interim President John Rudley has a long and important road ahead, and the next president must be able to guide the University with dignity and fairness.
The next president will need to guarantee that financial aid is dispersed in a timely manner, that student fees don’t become untenable and that this campus remains as vibrant and diverse down the road as it is today, providing students, faculty and staff with the resources needed to become well-rounded citizens worthy of association with this great University.
The next president must have the foresight to steer UH’s master plan for the long haul. It will take substantial administrative foresight to oversee a project that is expected to take 20 years, possibly spanning as many as a half dozen presidencies. It will also take a considerable amount of skeptical inquiry and reassessment on the part of the next president for the master plan to remain intact and relevant.
Whoever the finalist is that becomes president can’t idly accept this plan without first approaching it critically. The future president must make logistical and strategic revisions to the plan as needed to ensure the prosperity of the University into the next decade and beyond. The master plan must be an elastic, ever-improving and cohesive set of priorities and improvements.
The next president also has to be easily accessible to the student body, ready to address student concerns frequently, openly and willingly. The future president shouldn’t waste hundreds of University dollars on a misleading one-time advertisement in the student newspaper denouncing student concerns.
Likewise, the next president must posses an unquenchable thirst for truth despite bureaucratic red tape and cronyism, the ability to strike compromises in difficult situations and the desire to work closely with the UH community at all times.
There has to be an ongoing, honest and intellectual dialogue between the office of the president and the community at large in order for this University to become the flagship institution it has the ability to become.