Trust Me, I’m a Doctor: Just passing the time


Dr. Leeper

Welcome, everyone, to the “Spring” semester. I am not entirely sure why its labeled “Spring,” since the vast preponderance of the term we are in the throes of winter, locked within layers of ice and gray and forced, chilly marches from the dorms to classrooms to the student center and then perhaps to our dirty, dingy cars, with the filth rubbing onto our leggings (yeah, I wear leggings, they’re practical) to hit the pharmacy for something, anything to deal with the latest body-racking plague.

On occasion—like this week—we are teased with southerly breezes that produce 50 degree days that feel like 80, but ultimately we are blasted into reality, hit by blowing snow and blustery gusts from the Bowen Wind Tunnel that carry you skyward and deposit you atop Gardner Hall (GET OFF THE ROOF THAT’S A CRIMINAL TRESPASS).

“Spring” term—really? I have noticed over the years the trees don’t even leave til the students leave, around graduation day, and by mid May we have a lush, beautiful, green, fragrant, breezy, bright—empty campus. Empty, of course, but for the hard-working professional and support staff types who labor long hours, washed in florescence and ringed by drab cubicles, deep within the bowels of Hahn or the Student Center, looking longingly through their dark-ringed, bloodshot eyes, out windows to the lush, beautiful, green, fragrant, breezy, bright—empty campus. Seems it would make more sense to start the “Spring” term in late March, but we all know that would extend the semester into July, akin to a sweltering “semester abroad” on the sun.

So, WHAT can we do to bridge the seemingly interminable stretch of winter, grunge, drudgery, dry rot, frozen mud and cow urine, to the glorious summer months?

Let’s pick a president.

As you may have heard, Mr. Curt Frye, Wayne State’s 13th president, is stepping aside July 1. All of us are grateful for the years of service President Frye has provided for the college, and he deserves to sip exotic rum drinks in hairy, round coconut cups with tiny umbrellas on the yacht the Board office provides presidents upon their retirement. (Okay, I made that up. Or did I?)

But, now we are left to select a new leader, in a fairly compressed amount of time (May, it is hoped). Pay close heed to future issues of the Stater for announcements regarding particulars of the search. Everyone, from students, to faculty, to staff, to administrators, to community members, hell, to the squirrels, ESPECIALLY the squirrels, MUST be involved.

What I know: The Chancellor has appointed an “advisory committee” of faculty, staff, a few community members, and a student. They will express their opinion to a 3 member “recommending board” (comprised of 3 Board of Trustee members), who will communicate to the Chancellor. The Chancellor makes the ultimate decision.

A consulting firm has been hired by the Board office to recruit candidates and conduct the search. They will be on campus next week. Please speak with these strangers. Give them a sense of our unique and vibrant academic culture. Give them an idea of what president is the right fit for our proud little college. But don’t stop there.

Keep talking amongst yourselves about what kind of president we need. Keep striking up conversations with members of the appointed “advisory” committee. When finalists are identified and brought to campus, attend their talks. Fill out a form or two. Get a sense of who really should be the face of the college moving forward. Do NOT passively allow those with other interests to select OUR president.

Because this is what I really know: WSC is a long-standing, robust institution of higher education, a model of access, opportunity, and intellectual and spiritual achievement on the Great Plains.

We need a leader who knows and reflects our personality and reflects our history and traditions, extending back to our first president, James Madison Pile. It is imperative we are all involved, and we all speak with a strong, clear voice, expressing our desire through the layers of committees and firms.

What else do you have to do til the April thaw?