Faculty and staff members had their first opportunity to share their vision for the next president of Missouri Southern during two forums held in the BSC Ballroom on Jan. 23.

“We’re looking at the qualities and characteristics for our next president, and we want to make sure everyone has a voice in this process,” said Darren Fullerton, vice president for student affairs, on behalf of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee.

Leading the two forums was Steve Waldron, managing director for higher education at EFL Associates. The Kansas City-based search firm was recently approved by the Board of Governors to help facilitate the process.

Waldron said his focus is to help Missouri Southern find “the right fit” among the candidates who will be seeking the position.

“I’m here to help guide this process … to do the least amount of talking and most amount of listening,” he said.

Among the topics, he asked participants to dwell on was the direction for the university over the next five years and beyond; the development of existing programs; and the characteristics the next president should have in order to effectively lead Missouri Southern.

The questions Waldron posed to those in attendance were consistent across the faculty and staff forums.

“He was very clear that he was going to ask all constituents very similar questions to get an overall feel for what he’s doing … compiling a personality and job profile,” said Dr. Rebecca Mouser, who represents the Faculty Senate on the Presidential Search Committee.

“(Faculty members) were eager to speak up and offer ideas, and they were very similar kinds of traits,” she said.

Steven Brunson, who represents the Staff Senate on the search committee, said he was surprised at how so many of the comments during the staff forum seemed to align with one another.

“I think there was unity in all of our voices,” he said.

Mouser said she urges all those who want to have a voice in the process to reach out to those representing them on the search committee.

“I’ve been telling faculty to reach out with their questions or concerns,” she said. “I’m happy to voice those at meetings.”