The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News December 1, 2006

Students Weigh in on the Presidential Search
Presidential Meet-Up: Although Search Committee members were absent, an OCDC-led forum solicited student participation in the search for a new President.

Forums for student input on the presidential search continued this week with discussions hosted by the Oberlin College Dialogue Center.

This week’s Wednesday and Thursday discussions continued a process of seeking student input that began Nov. 14 when Presidential Search Consultant Dr. Thomas Courtice met with members of Student Senate and other interested students.

The goal of that session, and of this week’s sessions, was to discuss  what students expect from Oberlin’s next president.

Neither Courtice nor members of the search committee attended this week’s sessions. In their stead, the OCDC  hosted and facilitated discussions to acquire student input, which will then be relayed to Courtice and the search committee.

Each of this week’s sessions was marked by low attendance — just two or three students attended each event in addition to the facilitators.

Nonetheless, OCDC continued with the discussion, which centered on the same three questions that were asked when Courtice was present: What are the most distinctive features of Oberlin College? What are the most significant opportunities Oberlin has and the most important challenges that Oberlin faces in the next five to ten years? What attributes would you hope to see in the next Oberlin president?

“The goal here is to ensure that all voices — student voices, voices not usually heard, come out so that we can transmit that information to [the Search Committee],” said one facilitator.

OCDC asked that the comments remain confidential; in observance of that, the Review is not accompanying names with quotes in this article.

Although many ideas were discussed, students present seemed to agree on a few key values of a president. Among them was a commitment to social justice and maintaining diversity through financial aid and retention efforts, the willingness to be transparent and communicative with the student body and an essential understanding and appreciation of Oberlin as a unique institution.

Students can also stay informed and involved in the presidential search process by visiting the website, and by sending comments, ideas or questions to

Questions and comments can also be emailed to Courtice at


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