Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 21, 1995

Forums Allow Faculty to Share Preferences for Next President

Trustees, faculty
agree Richardson
tough act to follow

By Lisa Mastny and Mike Field

     At recent meetings with the presidential search committee,
Hopkins faculty expressed interest in finding a candidate with a
high degree of intellectual leadership and vision as the search
for President William C. Richardson's successor begins. Faculty
made their suggestions at simultaneous forums held Feb. 13 at the
East Baltimore and Homewood campuses.
     Fifteen faculty members, mostly from the School of
Engineering, met at Homewood amid a small protest by students who
want more undergraduate representation on the search committee
and a greater role in the committee selection process. Freshman
class president Joey Crawford is one of three students--but the
only undergraduate--selected by board of trustees chairman Morris
W. Offit to serve on the committee.
     Led by trustee Michael Bloomberg, committee members at the
Homewood meeting heard from faculty primarily about issues of
delegation and administrative leadership. Many praised Dr.
Richardson for surrounding himself with an excellent
administration that could run the university smoothly even when
the president was away.
     "Bill Richardson was a great administrator, and one of the
things a good administrator does is they put in place an
organization that survives themselves," Bloomberg said. "He put
good people in place, and that's what I hope would make it more
attractive for somebody else to come."
     Members of the search committee also urged the faculty not
to overlook the president's role as chief fund-raiser for the
university, a job that will become increasingly important as
universities nationwide continue to be hard hit from reductions
in federal and state support.
     "Anybody that's going to give big money will want to talk to
the president," Bloomberg said.  "He's the most effective
fund-raiser you have."
     The candidate should also have some experience in dealing
with the government, the committee indicated.  Not only does the
university receive approximately two-thirds of its revenue from
the federal government, but it also receives aid from the state
of Maryland and deals with the mayor and Baltimore city officials
at the local level.      
     While many faculty members understood the president's role
in administration and management, there was debate over whether
these skills should remain secondary to the demonstration of
intellectual leadership and vision.
     "I think the most important qualification for a president is
that he truly be intellectually excited about things in general,"
biology professor Doug Fambrough said. "You need someone who can
articulate that excitement and in doing so keep the rest of us
excited about being here. That's the key issue."
     Other members of the audience suggested that the committee
search for someone abreast of changing technology, aware of
important informational resources such as the library, and in
tune with faculty pressures such as the academic tug-of-war
between research and teaching. 
     "The undergraduates are here because of the teaching. The
research money comes because of the research abilities of the
faculty. As much here as anywhere, you have to remember that the
faculty are the strength of the institution," associate professor
of mechanical engineering Andrew Douglas said.
     Others admired Dr. Richardson for his ability to remain
accessible and friendly to faculty, and hoped the committee would
keep this characteristic in mind while conducting their search
for his replacement.
     "From my own experience, Bill had a really good sense of
what was important on a personal level and put those feelings
down into the very depths of the institution," said Nick Jones,
associate professor of civil engineering. 
     At the East Baltimore meeting that attracted about 20
faculty members, board of trustees chairman Morris W. Offit and
other members of the search committee heard that the ideal
candidate should possess a strong background in the health
sciences, in addition to a proven track record in fund raising. 
     "We need enormous capabilities across a broad range," Offit
said. "We are looking for someone with a feeling for finance as
well as educational distinction. The candidate doesn't have to be
a Nobel laureate, but has to be someone the faculty will respect.
The key characteristics are strength, stamina, intellectual depth
and enormous integrity."
     Several audience members also raised the issue of governance
of the School of Medicine since its faculty members work within
both the hospital and the university environments. Trustee George
Bunting expressed confidence the issue would be resolved in time
to present the final presidential candidates with a clearer
understand-ing of the relationship between School of Medicine
faculty and the hospital in future years.  
     Near the end of the 45-minute gathering, a faculty member
said she had heard through "the rumor mill" that the committee is
looking primarily for a candidate with a strong business
background. "I don't know where that came from," replied Offit.
"We'd be happy to find someone with a blended background, but
we're not looking just for a business background. The key word is
leadership. That's what we're looking for."
     Once the search committee agrees on the qualifications
sought in the new president, it will begin reviewing
recommendations and eventually compile a short list of five to 10
potential candidates. 
     While the committee expects to attract the bulk of its
candidates by word of mouth, advertisements for the position have
been placed in such publications as the "Chronicle of Higher
Education" and "The Economist," Bloomberg said.

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