Photo by Joey Krecic

Cleveland State faculty and board trustee chair Bernie Moreno discuss their vision for the next president of the university at a forum on Sept. 7.

 

September 18th, 2017

Student and faculty forums aid search for new president

As Cleveland State University President Ronald Berkman prepares to step down in 2018, the search for his replacement is underway. Faculty members and students voiced opinions and ideas in open forums Sept. 6 and 7 about the process that will take place.

The search team is made up of 24 people led by Cleveland State Chief Marketing Officer Rob Spademan.

The two separate sessions for faculty and students heard many ideas from passionate and enthusiastic participants.

The student forum saw many indistinguishable opinions such as the need for parking and keeping tuition low. Students seemed to really engage with the search representatives as the open dialogue covered a variety of topics, such as what students want to see most from our next president.

Asiri Samarasekera, a sophomore from Sri Lanka and computer science major, shared his thoughts on what he wants to see. “We want our next president to fit into the university just as the university should fit well into him.”

President Berkman’s tenure started in 2009, and saw much growth with the help of an inspired community. Although Berkman drew criticism from Cleveland State’s Faculty Senate which voted no confidence in the administration for how they handled the class credit hour change. But his accomplishments during his time at Cleveland State are irrefutable.

Berkman reduced the cost of an undergraduate degree by more than $3,350 annually by providing scholarships, grants and incentives to graduate in four years. Also increasing freshman enrollment from 1,320 in fall 2011 to the largest class in 2016 with 1,900 first-year students. Finally, Berkman is responsible for many of the new buildings, film school and a dual-campus medical program with the Northeast Ohio Medical University.

As for faculty who shared their thoughts, one major theme was that this is a crucial period of transition and growth. Most agreed that Cleveland State has been on an upward trajectory and if to continue, would find it essential to hire a student oriented president.

Joel Lieske, a political science professor, said, “It is a positive first step, but I’m concerned with the end game. I would like to see the candidates be vetted by not only the board of trustees but also the students and faculty.” The process is in the early stages, but planners say they hope to move quickly. “We hope to be ready to introduce candidates in December, and look to have our new president in place by early next year,” Spademan said.



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