Presidential Search Committee Outlines Priorities

November 4th, 2011 | News

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CSU Chancellor Charles Reed and members of the two committees charged with selecting the new president of CSUN discuss goals during the first and only public meeting. Photos by Lee Choo.

Understands how to outreach to diverse communities; committed to shared governance; works well with alumni and the community; broad vision; accessible; understands CSUN’s core values; team builder; forward thinker; and has good stamina are some of the attributes recommended by the committees entrusted with selecting the next president of California State University, Northridge.

The members of the Trustees Committee for the Selection of the President and the Campus Advisory Committee offered those criteria on Thursday, Oct. 27, at the first and only public meeting of the group. The joint committees held their meeting in Cal State Northridge’s Delmar T. Oviatt Library before an open forum that included faculty, staff, students and the public.

“It’s not one event that chooses a president. It’s a series or a process of events,” said CSU Chancellor Charles Reed to the joint committees. He cautioned the committee not to base their decision simply on the candidates’ resume, application or even a single interview.

The Oct. 27 meeting was the official launch of the search for a new president. The chancellor explained the importance of confidentiality in the process. He said that this protects the privacy of individuals who are “sitting” presidents or hold other positions that may be jeopardized if it became known they were being considered for another job.

The trustees and advisory committee will be assisted in the search and background checks by the Monterey Park, Calif.-based executive recruiting firm of Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates.

Claudia Keith, assistant vice chancellor of public affairs, said the trustees are expected to make their selection in January.

David Rodriguez ’73 (Political Science), chair of the Department of Chicana/o Studies, makes recommendations to the panel.

Reed urged advisory committee members to bring the names of potential candidates to the group. The advisory committee members are: Amanda Flavin, CSUN Associated Students, Inc. president; David Fleming ’09 Hon. D. (Law) and member of the university’s Foundation Board of Directors; Veronica Grant, CSUN University Advancement; George S. Leis ’81 (Geography) and president and CEO of Pacific Capital Bancorp of Santa Barbara; Michael Neubaurer, CSUN math faculty and director of the Liberal Studies Program; J. Michael Ortiz, president California State University, Pomona; Steven Stepanek, CSUN faculty president and senate chair; Irene Tovar ’69 (Sociology); Veda Ward, faculty in the Department of Recreation and Tourism Management; and William Watkins ’74 (Urban Studies) and CSUN vice president for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.

In addition to hearing from the trustees and advisory members, members of the campus and community offered their recommendations for a new president.

“Students need more support. The president needs to provide more advocacy,” said David Rodriguez ’73 (Political Science), chair of the Department of Chicana/o Studies.

CSUN student Justin Marks said he disagreed with keeping the candidates for president confidential. He said the new president needs to be “accountable.”

Gigi McGuire ’85 (Sociology), interim associate director of student outreach and recruitment services, said she hopes the new president is someone like Koester who “honors” and “recognizes” the value of the staff that keep the university running.

In May, Koester announced her plans to step down as president at the end of December. Koester began her appointment as the fourth president of CSUN on July 1, 2000. During her tenure, the university has increased retention and graduation rates while remaining accessible to qualified students and maintaining its historical commitment to diversity. In addition, the university’s reputation for academic excellence and community service has grown exponentially under her leadership, as has the level of private support.

For more information about the presidential search and transition, visit

—Shanté Morgan

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