It doesn’t seem that long ago that President Simone announced his intentions to retire after 15 years at the helm of RIT. But amazingly, that was over nine months ago, and the university is on the verge of welcoming its ninth president.
This week, the RIT community heard from the two men competing to assume that role. They are William Destler, senior vice president, academic affairs, and provost with the University of Maryland, and James Watters, senior vice president, finance and administration, and treasurer at RIT. During open forums, both men described how their leadership would propel our university to the next level in its development.
Destler, drawing from his strong academic background, described concepts like “innovation festivals,” where every graduating student showcases some tangible output from his or her RIT education, and “team Ph.D. programs” as ways that RIT might carve out some territory among the nation’s top-tier universities. Watters, showcasing his extensive business savvy, talked about his “outward focus” to grow the university’s endowment and create more global partnerships, while appointing a provost who would be largely responsible for driving the academic agenda.
It’s ridiculous to attempt such a brief summary of this week’s presentations when both men, who bring a variety of attributes to the table, touched on many topics and answered an array of questions. But it’s important to point out that, while they seem to have the same destination in sight for RIT, each would travel very different roads to get us there.
Take time to familiarize yourself with the candidates through the information supplied on the Presidential Search Web site. You will also find links to questionnaires that offer you the opportunity to supply feedback on which direction we should go. The candidates have spoken, now it’s your turn.
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