Editorial: Selecting the right administrators is imperative

Staff Editorial

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Eastern has seen several administrators step down from their positions or take other jobs recently.

With the university already in a vulnerable place because of Illinois’ budget crisis, Eastern is now under even more pressure to map out a better future, which will include finding the right people for these crucial leadership roles.

Bob Martin, Eastern’s vice president for university advancement, is leaving on Feb. 23 to work for Central Michigan University.

Dan Nadler, vice president for student affairs, will drop his administrative title while remaining a faculty member in the fall, and Admissions Director Chris Dearth is leaving Friday to become the vice president for enrollment management at Wesley College in Delaware.

Eastern has been using attrition to save money in recent years, which leaves several positions around campus such as directors, department chairs and college deans filled with interims.

According to a Jan. 13 article in The Daily Eastern News, President David Glassman said he will make a decision on Martin’s predecessor after the vice president’s February departure, and he is considering various options and individuals in the meantime.

To make up for Nadler’s position, Director of Health Services Lynette Drake will serve as interim associate vice president for student affairs.

According to a Jan. 12 article, Glassman and Blair Lord, the vice president for academic affairs, have been discussing appointing an interim admissions director, with a national search likely to begin in the summer.

“At this time at the university with the budget challenges we have, we are not doing external searches for many positions,” Lord said in the article.

While interim appointments are sometimes necessary, they cannot be relied on as long-term solutions.

When an interim is selected internally, the area where the person already worked will feel the effects of the person taking on the new role.

For example, Ryan Hendrickson, a political science professor, stepped up as interim dean of the Graduate School in July following the departure of former dean Robert Augustine.

While Hendrickson had the knowledge, experience and desire to take the position, it left the already stretched thin political science department with one fewer professor, as he was not able to take on the duties doing both would have demanded.

Specifically when looking at filling Dearth’s position, the university has a particularly important decision to make, as Dearth has done so much with the position in the short time he has been at Eastern.

Since becoming admissions director in 2014, Dearth has not only improved campus tours and visit days, but he has also lead the university in slowly but surely bumping up its incoming freshman enrollment, which is no small feat in the face of the downward trend in overall numbers for the past several years.

This particular area of progress is so essential to Eastern at this time that a new director with similar vision and direction that Dearth brought to the table is essential.

The daily editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Daily Eastern News.