In his first meeting with faculty members at UND, presidential candidate David Rosowsky said he believes integrity, accessibility and vision are the three most important traits a university president can have.
Rosowsky, professor in the civil and environmental engineering department at the University of Vermont and former provost at the university, is the third presidential candidate to visit campus this week. Three more candidates will visit next week. Rosowsky spent the morning of Thursday, Nov. 14, talking with faculty members in an open forum.
“The president serves many roles and many constituents,” Rosowsky said during a Herald interview. “But among the most important is to build not just morale at the institution, but pride in the institution, excitement for what the institution is doing and can be doing. I think there's no better way to build that excitement and that energy and that pride than by being with people.”
Rosowsky said he was attracted to the position, in part, because of the school’s reputation and the state.
“I’m really interested in this university because of where it is and where I think it's going,” Rosowsky told the Herald. “It is one of the great public flagship universities. It is poised by virtue of the disciplines that it represents and also the collective will that seems to exist at this campus to address some of the challenges.”
After six years, Rosowsky stepped down from the provost’s position at the University of Vermont earlier this year to allow the new president to form his own administrative team. Previously, Rosowsky was dean of engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. He also served as head of the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University.
While at the University of Vermont, Rosowsky helped roll out an incentive-based budget model, similar to one being used at UND. The decision was met with backlash by some on the Burlington, Vt.-campus.
In April 2018, Rosowsky received a vote of no confidence from a small segment of the university. Each of the candidates for president have been asked about the budgeting model while on campus. Rosowsky said the vote of no-confidence had a “great impact” on him.
“It sent the message that there were still some faculty that felt they were not yet heard or part of the process, the faculty undertook to develop this model, which was a faculty-driven model at Vermont,” he said, adding it made him consider if there were ways he and others could be reaching out and addressing the concerns of the faculty.
Rosowsky said many of the concerns raised were addressed in a revised version of the budget model.
“It impacted me because I viewed my commitment to that campus to be one of authentic, transparent, effective communication and, obviously, there was a small group I didn’t reach,” he said.
Rosowsky will meet with students, staff and community members on Friday. His schedule is:
Staff forum: 9 to 10:15 a.m. at 100 Leonard Hall
Student forum: 12 to 1:15 p.m. at 114 Witmer Hall
Campus and community forum: 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Discovery Room, EERC. A meet-and-greet social will follow.
Next week, Laurie Stenberg Nichols, Paul Tikalsky and Andrew Armacost will be on campus meeting with various groups.
The search committee is expected to narrow its candidate pool to three by the end of next week, with the final decision on the UND presidency going to the State Board of Higher Education on Dec. 3.