Students assist in search for new VPAA

Headhunter Cheryl Hyatt welcomes student opinions regarding the search for a new Vice President of Academic Affairs during an open listening session in Illinois Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 5. (Photo by Victoria Martin)

The spearhead of the search for EC’s next Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty welcomed students to join the conversation by hosting a brief student-listening session in Illinois Hall on Oct. 5.

The purpose of the listening session was to allow students to voice concerns and ask questions pertaining to the search for a new Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Cheryl Hyatt is a veteran expert in executive searches for higher education institutions with 23 years of experience.

Hyatt repeatedly engaged the audience with questions, seeking out student engagement.

“I really want to hear from you [all],” she said. “What are some of your concerns? What do you think that this next vice president is going to face, coming here?”

Senior Brielle Bailey asked about what role having a new Vice President of Academic Affairs would play in the creation of new majors for undecided students.

Hyatt clarified that the new VP would work with the rest of the faculty to complete such a task.

“So most of the time that would be on the faculty in conjunction with the Vice President for Academic Affairs,” she said. “So they’ll be looking at certain trends and doing some institutional research to determine what some students are looking for.”

When she was asked about President Troy Van Aken’s role in electing the new VP for Academic Affairs, Hyatt made clear that the president had final say on who is selected for the job.

“So it’s ultimately the president’s decision. However, because he’s newer here I believe that he will take the opportunity to listen to the input of the campus faculty, staff and students.”

The question was then raised about how the search committee to find the new VP was formed. Brian Wilhite explained the committee was selected via a mixture of volunteers and faculty voting.

“There were a number of faculty who volunteered to be put up for election to be on the committee and the faculty elected six members to be put on the committee and then the five non-faculty members on the committee were selected by the president.”

Hyatt then added that an effort was made to balance out the committee and the interests of the faculty.

“We had hoped to have individuals who represented all the various areas from the faculty perspective. I also think that with an academic vice president there should be a majority of faculty on the committee,” she said. “And we look at all of the various areas and we look for people who typically report to this person, so they’re not hiring their boss. ”