The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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PennWest Nearing the Final Stages of Presidential Search

Three Highly Qualified Candidates Have Been Identified to Lead the University Forward
Jessica Wheeler
PennWest California Campus

Pennsylvania Western University is one step closer to finding a new leader who can address the institution’s enrollment and financial challenges. After an extensive search, the university’s search committee has identified three highly qualified candidates who have visited each of the three campuses.

The incoming president will face the daunting task of navigating a soft higher education market, while working towards improving enrollment numbers and addressing rising concerns regarding student debt. The decision is expected to be made by the end of May.

The search committee, composed of representatives from PennWest’s student body, faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders, reviewed 35 applications and conducted 11 interviews. The committee worked diligently to narrow down the list to three final candidates who possess the necessary qualifications and experience to lead the institution forward. The three candidates are as follows:

  • Jon Anderson: Currently serving as the provost and vice president for academic affairs/professor at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah.
  • Philip Cavalier: Currently serving as the interim chancellor at the University of Tennessee at Martin in Martin, Tennessee.
  • Wade Weast: Currently serving as the founding dean of the College of the Arts at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.

The three finalists visited PennWest’s three campuses in California, Clarion, and Edinboro. During their visits, held Apr. 22-24, they had the opportunity to meet with students, faculty, staff, and community members. The campus visits included open forums where each candidate shared their vision for the university.

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“I fundamentally believe that working together is important. It’s important for us to see each other face to face, to look each other in the eye and talk about the outcomes we’re trying to work for and work toward and find pathways for us to do that,” Dr. Jon Anderson said, “I don’t ever assume that I have the answer. And I know I’m not the smartest person in any room, but I do have the ability to bring people together to do joint problem-solving.”

The forums continued with Dr. Wade Weast saying, “PASSHE has very specific metrics that each of the campuses, as I can tell, must meet, and so I don’t just want to meet them. I want to exceed them. I’ve said before that I don’t want to just help PennWest survive, actually, I want to help PennWest flourish. So not just meeting the metrics but exceeding the metrics.”

Dr. Philip Cavalier was the final candidate to visit the California campus saying, “I don’t think that students just succeed at college by simply going to class and leaving. You can get your degree that way. But I think there are other things that students develop as a result of being in all kinds of organizations.”

The selection process has been thorough and deliberate, considering input from various university constituencies and focusing on finding a leader who can navigate the changing landscape of higher education and prioritize enrollment growth.

The new president will face the challenge of reversing declining enrollment and ensuring the institution’s long-term success. With the new president expected to take office in July, PennWest is on track to have a new leader in place for the upcoming academic year.

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