Student senate discusses presidential search

Toby Davis

The search is underway for the next president of Missouri Southern. This was the dominant topic of discussion at the Student Senate meeting that occurred at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22 in Billingsly Student Center.

The session began with roll call and proceeded to campus news and updates. Lion Village was one topic of discussion– constructing a new residence hall that will include traditional housing units, and suits. According to the Senate, no University dollars were used for the construction.

Next, the Senate discussed the search for the new University president. Dr. Alan Marble, the current president, recently announced his retirement starting June 30 of this year. EFL Associates, a search and recruitment firm based in Kansas City, was hired by the Board of Directors to assist in the hiring process.

The firm’s mission is to thoroughly search the country for possible candidates and, ultimately, hire the right individual for the job. Stephen Waldron, a representative from the firm, was in attendance at the meeting to directly speak with the Senate.

Waldron listened to the opinions of students about the positive aspects of attending Southern, along with areas that need improvement for a better University experience. Tuition and small class sizes were what the Senate members liked most about the University, with one individual commenting that the tuition rate is what made his college education even possible.

Another noted that her out-of-state tuition at Southern is more affordable than the in-state tuition at the local University in her Kansas hometown. The Senate, however, had more to say in regard to what needs improvement, including the limited food options at the Lion’s Den in Billingsly Student Center.

Parking and transit were also discussed, with members expressing their concerns about the distance between the residence halls and other campus buildings. The Senate expressed gratitude for the City of Joplin trolley system, but they believe the University would greatly benefit from a system of on-campus transit.

The Senate agreed that improvements such as these would increase the retention rate by simply enhancing the campus culture. At the end of the session, Waldron asked members about characteristics they want in the new president.

Campus involvement, a desire for community integration, and an appreciation for music and the arts were popular answers among the members.

“I would like someone who is approachable.” said Gia Oberley, junior sociology major. “Someone who makes their presence known on campus and who is friendly enough to have a conversation with.”