Students express essential qualities new DSU president must embody

Share This:

Being socially, entrepreneurially or ideologically sound can take a lifetime, but the next Dixie State University president may have to exhibit all these qualities to appease students. 

The DSU Presidential Search Committee held three public meetings Thursday to gauge staff, student and community member expectations for the committee while searching for a new president. At the student-oriented meeting, committee members described the process of selecting a president before opening up discussion for comments.

David Buhler, Utah commissioner of higher education, said the search committee will take ideas from constituents into account when developing a position announcement, which goes out nationally. He said after that, students and staff can expect quiet for some time until the committee names finalists for the position.

“There is no timeline,” he said. “We will take as long as it takes to find the best person to be president of this great institution and to build upon successes from the past.”

Students then gave opinions in regards to their hopes for DSU’s direction in the future and what they think a new president must embody.

Zac Stucki, a senior business major from St. George, said DSU administration, staff and students face a crossroads and can create dialogue to both go against the status quo and empower students. The ultimate path taken depends on DSU’s future president, Stucki said.

“We actually, at Dixie State University, have a wonderful opportunity to brand ourselves as something unique and distinct, or we have an opportunity to brand ourselves as followers,” he said.

Stucki also said the new president’s ultimate ability to inspire students dictates whether DSU can constantly improve while influencing other universities to provide students with a well-rounded education.

“President Nadauld found a way to [instill] hope in every single student,” he said. “The instant they walked on this campus and saw President Nadauld, they knew in their hearts, ‘You know what, this is going to be hard, but dang it, I can do it.’” 

Like Stucki, other students said a candidate who builds on Nadauld’s impact at DSU should be chosen.

Mariah Stout, a senior elementary education major from Evanston, Wyo., and Dixie State University Student Association education senator, said Nadauld goes out of his way to associate with students. A university president so immersed in campus happenings is rare, she said.

“A really good characteristic of a president of this school is somebody who actually wants to get involved with the students — someone who doesn’t have a problem going and talking to the students on campus and coming to the activities,” Stout said.

As DSU continues its growth and development with a new leader, attendees voiced concerns that dealt with more specific issues.

Alex Lambson, a junior CIT major from St. George and DSUSA CIT senator, said DSU’s role in southern Utah’s economy should bolster and eclipse other sources of revenue like tourism. To meet this demand, whoever replaces Nadauld must peer into the future, he said.

“[We need a president] who looks really, really far into the future — like we’re talking 20, 30 years here because you know times are going to change [drastically],” Lambson said. “If we don’t upgrade our infrastructure and things like the Internet … we’re going to get left behind by the other schools that are constantly upgrading all that.”

As committee members scribed notes, students drew from personal experiences for suggestions.

Kelsey Jetter, a junior English major from St. George, said the university could use a president who values public speaking and debate. Christine Arlotti, a senior English major from Los Angeles, said Nadauld’s successor cannot ignore the challenges to undergraduate females on campus.

“We are a family-oriented community, and so a lot of our female students get married early and have children, but they don’t have any help with child care or services to help them [graduate],” Arlotti said.

The DSU presidential search committee will hold another meeting Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. to garner more feedback from constituents. In addition, staff, students and community members can provide input by submitting comments at dixie.edu/presidential search under “Public Input.”