By Bill Robinson
The chair of Eastern Kentucky University’s faculty senate has been added to the panel appointed to search for EKU’s next president.
The move came after two days of campus and community forums conducted Monday and Tuesday by two representatives of the search firm the board of regents retained to assist with the process.
In an email to members of the campus community and the media, regents’ chair Gary Abney announced he was adding Dr. Sheila Pressley, an associate professor in EKU’s environmental health sciences department, to the search committee.
“We value and respect our faculty and recognize they are the core of the university's educational mission,” Abney said in his announcement.
During the forums and in messages to the board, numerous faculty had urged that their representation on the search panel be expanded, said Craig Turner, the regents’ vice chair who chairs the search committee.
Previously, the regents believed having the faculty regent, biology professor Dr. Malcom Frisbee, on the search panel was sufficient representation from teaching staff, Turner said.
The faculty regent is elected by the faculty at large, but the faculty senate chair is elected by the senators who represent each academic department, Pressley said.
Abney said the forums and meetings Monday and Tuesday had been “full and productive,” involving faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and friends of the university.
Process and inclusiveness will be very important to a successful search, Turner said, and both he and Abney want all of the university’s constituents to embrace it.
Pressley said she was gratified by her addition to the search panel and looked forward to helping represent teaching faculty and keeping them informed.
Judging by the number of congratulatory messages she received after her appointment was announced, Pressley said she believed her colleagues shared her enthusiasm.
“We’re all in this for one reason,” she said, “we love EKU.”
Information about the search process may be obtained and input given on a special university website at www.presidentialsearch.eku.edu.
Video of the forums may also be viewed on the website.
The next meeting of the search committee is scheduled for Dec. 17.
Bill Robinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 624-6690.