Alcorn community discuss qualifications for next president during Campus Listening Session

Students, faculty and staff, administration and alumni gathered at Alcorn State University for a conversation on the standard for the University's next institutional executive.

Members of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) conducted a Campus Listening Session Tuesday, Oct. 2 in the Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. Dining Hall Gold Room. The discussion focused on the qualities and qualifications of the University's next president.

Dr. Wanda Fleming, director of Human Resources, said that she hopes that Alcorn's next leader will focus on improving student-teacher relations for an even better working environment. 

"I hope that the next president with have a heart for teaching and a passion for ensuring that our students are ready to compete in the 21st century," said Fleming. "I also hope that our next leader will have a heart for students, faculty, and staff so that we can work together as a unit to push the university forward."

Johnny Allen, an instructor in the Department of Fine Arts, looks forward to a president that would help promote the department's other sections while adding unique opportunities for students interested in the arts.

"The next president should take a deeper look into our department and enforce more improvements," said Allen. "We want to incorporate things such as film and theater so that we can be a more diverse department and offer more to our students."

Dr. Willie Benson, chief information officer for the Center for Information Technology Services (CITS), voiced his opinion on how the next leader should be technologically sound.

"Technology is all the students know, they were born into it, so they need it as much as possible," said Benson. "Technology is the way to get through to our students. So I hope that the next president understands where technology can take us."

Percy Norwood, former Alcorn State University National Alumni president, said that the next leader must pose innovative ideas that will move the University forward. 

"Our next leader has to be a visionary," said Norwood. "This institution has great potential. We need a chief fundraiser, and we need someone who can make a decision."

Dr. Jeff Posey, the associate vice president of Facilities Management, spoke on behalf of behind the scenes employees at Alcorn. Posey was adamant about the next president's ability to improve their salaries.

"As you look out at our grounds and come into our facilities, many individuals at this university put forth many hours, and we need a president and executive team behind that individual who can support those people with raises," said Posey. "I feel that we must do better as far as raising the salaries of our lowest tier employees."

Hanna Nations, a graduate student who serves as a secretary for the Department of English, Languages and Mass Communication, hopes that Alcorn's next leader has more in common with students and employees.

"I would like a leader who can be a voice for students and faculty," said Nations. "Having someone who can relate to us and understand our needs will help when it comes to acquiring the proper resources to teach students."