8-30-2013

Contact: Gayle Saunders, 614-292-5962

University Presidents from Across the Nation Gather at Ohio State

Distinguished Leaders Discuss the University Presidency at Public Forum

COLUMBUS, Ohio – No two U.S. public research institutions are alike, but many face the same challenges: reduced state and federal financial support, college affordability, and the struggle to meet the needs of the accelerated pace of change in today’s higher education.

Such is the national context in public higher education as The Ohio State University engages in its search for the institution’s next president.

To provide insights about the modern university presidency, current and former leaders of four prominent universities gathered at Ohio State today to discuss these issues in a Symposium on the University Presidency.

The panel, convened by The Ohio State University Board of Trustees, was moderated by Richard Chait, professor emeritus at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Panel participants included Lawrence S. Bacow, president emeritus, Tufts University; Elson S. Floyd, president, Washington State University; Thomas W. Ross, president, University of North Carolina system, and Teresa A. Sullivan, president, University of Virginia.

During the forum, officials discussed the challenges and opportunities of research universities and requisites for strong leadership.

The panelists noted that universities face pressure to offer the most attractive educational and co-curricular opportunities to meet the expectations of today’s students and parents.

Chait, a leading authority on higher education, guided the discussion, leading panelists to discuss the realities of today’s higher education landscape.

Jeffrey Wadsworth, Ohio State University trustee and chairman of the Presidential Search Committee, said the wisdom and experience of the university leaders has helped deepen the committee’s understanding and perspective in the search for the next leader of the university.

“As we transition to our next president of The Ohio State University, we believe Ohio State offers an exceptional opportunity that will attract a world-class leader,” said Wadsworth. “Today’s symposium is a critical step in helping to define the work of the Presidential Search Committee.”

Professor Deborah Jones Merritt, convener of the presidential search advisory subcommittee, says the input from the current and former university presidents will inform the work of the advisory subcommittee as they hold public forums and engage the university community.

“Our 13-member advisory subcommittee has great representation from faculty members, student leaders, staff and senior administrators,” said Merritt. “Our charge is to seek input from the full university community, as well as from our partners in the broader community. We are doing this through a series of open forums throughout Columbus, at our regional campuses, and over the Internet.”

To date, there have been six meetings of the Presidential Search Committee and its advisory subcommittee. The subcommittee has already held several group meetings and public forums, including forums in Mansfield and Wooster, Ohio. Eleven more public forums are scheduled for the next two weeks.

Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University, was scheduled to participate in the symposium, but was unable to attend.

About The Ohio State University

Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 56,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers, and 168 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences, and the professions.