The search to replace one of Portland State’s biggest power players is underway.
Jay Kenton, who as vice president of finance and administration helped broker many building deals and is largely credited for the revitalization of PSU, left for a job at the University of Idaho this fall.
In the wake of Kenton’s departure, a sizable search committee has been put together with the task of finding the best candidate for the job. The position is an integral part of crucial executive decisions made at PSU including tuition increases, presenting budget information to the state legislature and overseeing the Human Resources department.
The search committee consists of a wide range of PSU staff, faculty, community affiliates and even several students.
The chair is Dr. Scott Dawson, dean professor of marketing and advertising from the School of Business Administration. The faculty portion of the committee has membership from five different academic schools and departments ranging from physics to the School of Social Work. Notably, staff membership includes two big names, Wendy Endress, dean of students, and Cathy Dyck, who is currently serving as interim vice president of finance and administration.
The two student representatives are Tracy Earll, Chair of Student Fee Committee, and Christy Harper, President of ASPSU.
According to Harper, the committee’s first meeting in July involved finding out exactly what everyone liked about Kenton.
“Jay was very well respected, very connected with the community. He was like that with everybody,” Harper said.
Dawson seemed to share the sentiment, expressing that it was interesting to hear how communicative and involved Kenton was with students.
The ultimate goal of the search timeline, according to an early draft, marks July 2005 as the projected first month for the new vice president. Thus far, according to Dawson, the committee has roughly 25-35 applicants.
“The hardest part is picking who,” Dawson said. “It’s an important decision.”
Harper stated that she is interested in finding someone who is similar to Kenton.
“They have to be willing to take chances. Things don’t happen unless you take risks,” Harper said.
Finally, Harper firmly expressed her desire that the new vice president appreciate and respect student input. Similarly, Dawson said that communication and a sense of empathy were important qualities in a potential candidate.
At this point, business is just beginning in the search for a new member of PSU senior management. With the soft deadline for applications set at October 15, more information on the search will most likely develop after the next meeting on October 22.