Editor’s note: Out of respect for the search committee’s request to keep candidates’ identities confidential, The Rose Thorn will refer to candidates as Candidate A, Candidate B, etc. in the order of their on-campus visits. Please refer to www.rose-hulman.edu/presidentialsearch for the identities of each candidate.
Faculty, family, and undergraduate focus were the three headlines of Candidate A’s presentation Monday. The candidate, who is currently the Dean of Engineering at a large Midwestern research institution, started his presentation by noting that “the intellectual property in [a student’s] degree comes from the faculty.” He claimed to be a great fan of the atmosphere of caring and commitment created by those faculty, while also applauding their agility in creating new curricula and educational options. He also noted that he would fit will with Rose-Hulman’s family atmosphere because he was “not capable of not trusting you; I assume honesty.”
Candidate A graduated from the University of Arkansas and heavily emphasized the effect his undergraduate education had on his career. He also emphasized his background as a farmer and claimed that he was a hard worker from childhood on. When speaking of his core values, he noted that Rose-Hulman’s guiding principles were very similar to his own.
At his current position, Candidate A has been heading a successful capital campaign for new engineering facilities, scholarships, and faculty members. He noted that his expertise from that project aligns well with Rose’s current strategic plan. As he concluded his speech, candidate A noted that he was a “macro-manager; I refuse to make a decision that someone else should make.”
Longtime Rose-Hulman community member and current interim President Rob Coons spoke on Wednesday the 6th. Coons made his case for the presidency based on his long experience and familiarity with Rose. He noted that his experience as controller and chief administrative officer have made him familiar with the current Board of Trustees, and that this familiarity would have him up to speed quickly if he became the president.
In his address, Coons examined a series of challenges that Rose-Hulman is facing in his view, along with his strategies to overcome those challenges. Several of those challenges were focused on moving forward and taking risks, and as the talk progressed, Coons returned to the theme of getting Rose-Hulman moving forward again. Coons then discussed his qualifications for the position. He highlighted his people skills, strategic ability, and heavy involvement with finances and budgets as positive traits.
To conclude his talk, Coons discussed specific goals for the institution should he become president. Among his ideas were a fund to promote curricular innovation and a new Center for Technologically Enhanced Education, a new Forever Rose initiative to build new, meaningful relationships with alumni, and an increase in the diversity of the Rose-Hulman community. As he finished, Coons claimed that Rose-Hulman is already on the right path with the new strategic plan, and notes that he is very interested in seeing Rose execute on that plan.