Eight UofL representatives will be allowed in final presidential interviews

The University of Louisville’s closed presidential search will be opening a bit, as eight non-trustees will be sitting in on the final round of interviews in a few weeks. 

Designed to represent the branches of campus, the spots are evenly divided between students, faculty, staff and deans. The campus representatives will be in the room for each finalists’ on-campus interview, and will be able to voice their opinions to the board of trustees.

However, the representatives will not have an official vote — only the trustees can vote. Additionally, the representatives will sign confidentiality agreements to prevent them from discussing the interviews, according to minutes from a Presidential Search Faculty Consultation Committee (PSFCC) meeting.

The students, faculty and staff representatives have been decided. UofL’s Faculty and Staff Senates elected their representatives from their pool of senators. Nursing professor Diane Chlebowy and music professor Krista Wallace-Boaz will represent the faculty. Intramurals assistant director John Smith and Director of Diversity Education and Inclusive Excellence Marian Vasser will represent the staff.

The student representatives are future and past student body presidents. Monali Haldankar, the 2014-2015 student body president and current UofL dental school student, is the first student rep. Jonathan Fuller, a nursing major who will be next year’s president, is the second.

Jonathan Fuller | Courtesy The Louisville Cardinal

Insider reached out to all representatives for comment, but only Fuller responded. Fuller said he’s looking for a candidate with previous higher education experience, experience at a school similar to UofL and a vision to move the school forward.

“I think we have a great opportunity to grow the university and increase our student, faculty and staff numbers. I will be looking for a candidate who shares that mentality and has ideas to grow the university,” Fuller said.

Fuller said he would also be looking for a candidate focused on student success. He noted he’ll be asking the finalists about their work with student retention, citing an issue with keeping sophomores in school.

The two dean representatives haven’t been selected yet, according to a UofL spokesman. A&S Dean Kimberly Kempf-Leonard said she is unsure how or when the deans will be selected, but hopes it will be soon.

The UofL board of trustees’ decision to have a closed presidential search drew criticism from several areas of campus, most notably from faculty. Despite protests from the provost and deans, the board’s decision was not reversed. PSFCC members — faculty members on a search committee mandated by UofL’s governing handbook — are still hopeful the round of three to five finalists will be public.

“It is still the hope of the PSFCC that the 3-5 finalists will be in a position to publicly reveal their candidacy and schedule open campus visits so that all members of the UofL community will be able to interact with them in some capacity,” the committee said in minutes from its March meeting. “The faculty, and by extension the PSFCC, will only be able to fulfill its function as a consultative body in the true sense if these campus visits take place.”

The candidate field is down to around 10 after the board of trustees narrowed a 49-person pool during a special meeting on March 8. Interim president Greg Postel confirmed to reporters he is still in the running for the position after the board’s regular meeting March 15. 

The board hopes to name a president by the end of May. Whoever the board selects will be UofL’s first permanent president since James Ramsey was forced out in July 2016.

This post has been updated.