Search committee for President Haas' replacement named

By Arpan Lobo | 3/22/18 2:54am

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GVL / Sheila Babbitt President Thomas Haas announces his retirement on Wednesday February 28.

As Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas announced his impending retirement in February, the GVSU Board of Trustees announced that the search for his replacement was underway. On Tuesday, March 20, the members of the presidential search advisory committee (PSAC) were announced. 

The committee consists of members of GVSU faculty and administration; administrative and professional staff; and a representative from each of the bargaining units, the student body, alumni and the public staff. The new members will be joining Board of Trustees Chair John Kennedy, Mary Kramer, Megan Sall and Kate Pew Wolters.

The members of the committee are as follows: Felix Ngassa, professor of chemistry and chair of the University Academic Senate; Majd Al-Mallah, professor of modern languages and literatures; Sean Lancaster, professor; Samhita Rhodes, associate professor of biomedical engineering; Deborah Bambini, professor of nursing; Kate Remlinger, professor of English; Ellen Schendel, assistant vice president for academic affairs; Diana Lawson, dean of the Seidman College of Business; Kyle Caldwell, executive director of the Johnson Center for Philanthropy; Daniel Hurwitz, assistant vice president for community giving; Cheryl Bouwman, assistant in the office of University Communications and member of the Association of Professional Support Staff; student senate president Jonathan Bowman; alumna Selma Tucker; and Grand Valley University Foundation member Mitchell Watt.

Kennedy will chair the committee, whose members were selected by the Board of Trustees. 

The committee has several leadership criteria listed. The university is seeking an individual who can be described as a visionary, academic leader, effective administrator, community developer, resource acquirer and role model.

Other requirements include having a "demonstrated record of leading a large complex organization at the most senior level," as well as advanced degrees.  

Bowman, a GVSU senior, is the lone representative from the student body. During Haas' retirement address, Bowman said that "it has been an honor for me this past year in my position working with him and directly seeing the legacy he will leave behind." 

Bowman believes that Haas' eventual replacement has large shoes to fill.

"The legacy that President Haas has will carry on beyond his time here," he said. Haas will retire after 13 years at GVSU on June 30, 2019. Haas has said in the past that the student body has remained his priority. Bowman expects the PSAC to find a replacement who can fit the various needs of the student body.

"All students have different needs," Bowman said. He also added that being the lone student representative was a "huge honor."

The PSAC will hold listening sessions with both the GVSU community and the general public about the qualities desired in GVSU's fifth president in April. The sessions will take place on both the Allendale and Pew campuses, but exact dates and times have yet to be announced. 

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