Students say what they want in next president

Since Castleton University President Dave Wolk made the announcement on March 8 that he will be leaving Castleton University in December, many have pondered who they’d like to see fill his big shoes.

On Tuesday March 28 at 12:30 p.m., several VSC trustees and VSC Chancellor Jeb Spaulding will be hosting a community forum in the 1787 Room in the Campus Center with the goal of learning what the Castleton community would like in the next president.

The VSC has not decided what the hiring process will be like, and is also looking for input from the Castleton community on that matter.

“Personally, I believe the decision about whether to conduct a search for a position like the Castleton presidency is a situational one,” Spaulding said in an email. “At an institution in crisis or with no strong internal candidates, the need for a search would be clear. At an institution on the right track and with one or more strong internal candidates, a search may not be necessary.”

Students already have a few ideas about what they’d like to see from the next president.

Junior Daniella Doolen is an education major and believes the next president should keep a strong focus on academics and curriculum.

“Castleton has become largely known for its sports teams, but I believe in order to make the best campus, we need to stop with budget cuts to departments and focus on making them better in order for Castleton's students to thrive,” she said.

Junior Alaina Heisler wants the next president to be excited about Castleton’s academic growth, specifically in the nursing department, which is her major.

“I would like to see a president who is enthusiastic about the improvement of undergraduate programs at Castleton,” she said. “With several departments revamping their courses and requirements, including the nursing department, I hope the next president is excited about the challenge of a changing university.”

Shifting away from academics, transfer student Dylan Blair would like to see a president who pushes students to be engaged in their community.

“I didn’t get much of an opportunity to see how President Wolk performed his duties, but I always heard how well-liked and respected he was,” Blair said. “I’m very into politics and would like to see the new president try and get more students involved in the political process. I would like to see a president that makes a green campus a top priority.”

Many students agree the next president should strive to be just as personable as Wolk has been.

“It’s important to continue President Wolk’s tradition about getting to know the students, and actively be involved in the things they are,” graduate student Mariah O’Hara said. “Simply walking across campus and seeing the president outside talking to students is something that has set Castleton apart from a lot of other schools.”

Doolen agrees.

“The next president should be approachable, just as President Wolk has been,” she said.

All students, staff and faculty are invited to the community forum and to come with thoughts about the direction Castleton is headed and how the next president can help the university reach those goals.

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