Just as the presidential debate portends change, so does a presidential search at Calumet College of St. Joseph.
Dr. Daniel Lowery will soon step down as college president. To get an idea of what people are looking for in his successor, I asked Assistant Professor of English, Writing, and Professional Communications Mark Cassello and Associate Professor of Theology Dr. Joan Crist about what qualities they would like to see in a new college president.
What do you think has made Dr. Lowery a good president at Calumet College?
Professor Cassello: Dr. Lowery has had to make difficult decisions to ensure the financial health of the institution while at the same time keeping the students’ needs met. He was a good President because he focused on a long-term vision for the institution while still being able to address its day-to-day needs.
Dr. Crist: His identity as a Catholic leader: he has worked to build bridges with the local Catholic diocese, his experience in administration, his institutional memory of the people and changes that CCSJ has been through in the past, the strengths and weaknesses of the college, his ability to form a long-term strategic vision for the college.
What qualities do you consider important in a college president?
Professor Cassello: Servant leadership is very important; and having a president who places students’ needs first and avoids a top-down management style.
Dr. Crist: Appreciation for the contributions of all sectors of the institution, from faculty to students to staff.
What role would the new president play in sports programs?
Professor Cassello: Our athletic programs are a key piece of CCSJ’s success. A new president might work on expanding recruiting efforts or eliminate sports that are too costly or have too few students participating.
Which programs or activities could change with having a new president?
Dr. Crist: I wonder about the identity of the student population we are called to serve. We seem to be moving toward a more traditional middle class full time student population (the effort to build dorms was related to the purpose of attracting such students): this was not our main mission in the past. I wonder how a new president will regard this. It is not my place to speculate, but I doubt that we can compete with other small Catholic colleges for those students.
What problems or concerns would you like the new president to address?
Dr. Crist: Channels of communication and decision making throughout the institution. We have historically been very informal. We are a family and we function that way. We need, however, to move away from informality toward establishing formal channels of communication for all sectors of the college, making sure individuals understand and use them and are protected by them. We will also need to continue the work Dr. Lowery has begun to form positive relationships with our local Catholic diocese. We have had a lot of staff turnover in recent years, as well. This has hurt our ability to serve students. More stability in staffing would be helpful.
Professor Cassello: I would like to see a new president focus on growing the enrollment of the College and improving its financial position.
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The Shavings is looking for writers! If you are interested in writing for The Shavings, please contact the Editor, Hannah Carr, or the Advisor, Professor Cassello.
Amy McCormack, Ph.D.
Calumet College of St. Joseph
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