Presidential Search Committee releases candidate profile

Lillian Zeng | Daily Trojan

  The Presidential Search Advisory Committee will begin interviews for USC’s next president in early 2019, according to a memo to the USC community issued by Board of Trustees Chairman Rick Caruso.

“Over 2,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and local community leaders shared their perspectives at 11 in-person forums, via the presidential search website and through emails and phone calls,” Caruso wrote in the memo. “What the committee heard and learned was informative, enlightening and also deeply moving.”

Based on community feedback, the committee created a candidate profile that outlines opportunities and challenges it expects the next University president to address, along with some expected qualifications the person should possess.  

The committee also invited those interested in become the University’s next leader to submit an application by Nov. 30.

Board of Trustees Chairman Rick Caruso spoke at the third listening session hosted by the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. He said he is there to listen to the voice of the USC community. (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)

The candidate profile lists primary challenges the president should address, alongside 17 professional and personal qualifications that the Presidential Search Committee is searching for.

“USC requires a President with vision, breadth and drive,” the profile read. “The President should be a visible, accessible and transparent leader.”

Law professor Ariela Gross, who helped draft the faculty’s letter calling for former president C. L. Max Nikias’ resignation in May, said she was pleased with the candidate profile and its desired qualifications.

“If we are to avoid the failures of moral leadership of the past, these things are crucial,” Gross wrote.

Professor William Tierney, co-director of the USC Pullias Center for Higher Education, wrote an op-ed in the Times regarding Nikias’ resignation and the problems within the administration in May 2018.

Lillian Zeng | Daily Trojan

“I think [the profile] is well-written [and] nicely summarizes the strengths of the University and many issues confronting us,” Tierney wrote. “Any such ad needs to be optimistic, but also clear, and the advertisement does that very well.”

Graduate Student Government President Joycelyn Yip said the GSG Board and Senate will review the profile in-depth and continue to collaborate with the committee to include graduate students’ voices.

“Because graduate and professional students were not highlighted in the ‘Students and Student Life’ portion of the document, we will remind the Committee members and the Board of Trustees of the thousands of graduate students located on other campuses and online who have their own unique accomplishments and needs,” Kip wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan.

GSG Vice President Kristopher Coombs said he hopes the administration will prioritize the USC community and its students in upcoming decisions regarding the presidential search.

Lillian Zeng | Daily Trojan

“The profile reads more as a seven pages of throat-clearing to demonstrate how awesome we are, less than a page of specific qualifications and 14 pages of appendices,” Coombs wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan. “We hope to see a stronger reflection of student interests and values in future, and once again call upon the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, other trustees and administrators to ensure that student voices are treated at an equal level as everyone else.”

Undergraduate Student Government did not comment in time for publication.