Elon University President Leo Lambert’s announcement about the ending of his term mentioned the work the community has ahead to find the school’s ninth president.
“I look forward to our work together in the months ahead as we achieve our goals, celebrate our shared accomplishments and anticipate the arrival of Elon’s ninth president,” Lambert said.
To find Lambert’s successor, the Board of Trustees created the Presidential Search Committee. This committee’s first primary focus is to gather community input and incorporate it into their decision-making process.
According to the search committee, “input from the entire Elon community is essential at this stage of the search.”
The committee is hoping to learn Elon community members’ thoughts on the university’s priorities and the qualities, skills and experiences that they are looking for in the next president.
To achieve this goal of gathering community input, the search committee sent out a “Elon Presidential Search Survey” to the entire school March 1. The personalized email was sent to all Elon constituents requested the community to complete a confidential three-question survey that would be recorded and later analyzed.
“The survey was a great idea and is incredibly valuable. Students have a special relationship to the president that the Board of Trustees might not understand,” said junior James Burnham. “But they recognized that, and catered to it with this survey which is simply incredible.”
Two days later on March 3, the search committee sent out another email to those that had not yet completed the survey. This second email asked them once again to complete the survey so that their input could be considered in the search.
“If people choose not to complete the survey, they are forfeiting their chance to impact the school, and not just let the school impact them,” Burnham said. “It might be a little time consuming but it is totally worth expressing your opinions.”
Freshman Remy Benzel is one of the students that chose not to complete the survey sent out by the search committee.
“I’ve been very busy with all of my homework and the two emails that they sent out honestly just got buried underneath all of my other emails,” Benzel said.
Despite the emails being lost in his inbox, Benzel did not have the most faith in the search process.
“I don’t know how my opinion could have really made a difference in the search process,” said Benzel. “I don’t know what powers the president has, or really anything about the searching situation, so how could me completing a survey make a difference?”
The deadline for completing the survey passed Sunday 9 p.m. The search committee is now moving onto the next phase of the search process, which will be forums held mid-March in order to gather more community input.
Even if students were unable to complete the survey, there is still a chance to express their opinions to the search committee March 14-15.