Rutgers community discusses presidential transition
Rutgers University named Jonathan Holloway as its 21st president on Jan. 21. Currently, Holloway serves as provost for Northwestern University, and in the past has fulfilled roles as dean and Edmund S. Morgan professor at Yale University. He is set to begin his presidency at Rutgers on July 1.
Peter McDonough, senior vice president for external affairs at Rutgers University, explained the presidential search and transition processes.
“The president at Rutgers is selected by the Board of Governors with the concurrence of the Board of Trustees,” McDonough said. “Dr. Holloway was recommended to the Boards by a search committee that was comprised of 23 individuals including 11 faculty members, four members of the Board of Governors, three members of the Board of Trustees, one member of the Board of Overseers, two members of the central administration and two students.”
Now that Holloway has been chosen, he must begin learning about the University and the community, McDonough said.
“(The) transition is a period where an incoming president can take his or her time to understand and appreciate both the culture and the challenges of the University (and) a chance to get to know the University and the faculty, students, alumni and staff that make it what it is.” McDonough said.
The transition period also allows the incoming president to learn about University operations, short and long-term issues and how to potentially handle them, McDonough said.
He said the transition period may be very busy, especially since the incoming president currently works at another high-level position and must focus on his responsibilities there as well. Incoming presidents, including Holloway, must also consider the challenges of moving the rest of the family to a new location.
McDonough said Holloway will work closely with the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees. Each president sits on the boards as a non-voting member.
“The boards and the president work hand-in-hand to help make Rutgers a better place to study, learn and work, and to help the University meet its missions of research, service and teaching,” McDonough said. “The president of the University plays the key role in guiding the University, in setting priorities and establishing a strategic vision, so to that extent, the new president, as with all presidents, has a profound impact on the University.”
Holloway must seek approval from the Board of Governors for major policy changes, the annual budget, which includes tuition costs, financing or other actions that would cause Rutgers to take on debt, McDonough said. The University Senate, which consists of faculty, students, staff, administrators and alumni, can also make recommendations.
The Rutgers government system is complex and there are many different areas which are affected by the president, McDonough said. But since the transition period has only just begun, specific changes regarding policies, faculty or strategies cannot yet be revealed.
Holloway could not comment on the transition process, as he is still learning about the University.
Some students expressed an interest in the changes Holloway can implement during his presidency. Alejandra Barnes, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences first-year, said Holloway can bring a new perspective to the University.
“I hope Mr. Holloway accomplishes a bunch of new projects such as making on-campus (living) more affordable, (creating) a more efficient transportation service, (supporting) new academic initiatives, as well as a myriad of other plans and ventures,” Barnes said.
Alina Akhtar, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year, said Holloway had a successful career at the past schools he worked at.
“Based on his experience as an academic administrator at other universities, I hope he continues doing the great work he did in the past,” Akhtar said.
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