Gaudino to visit CWU in early Nov. for interviews

Amy Szabo

Credit: DKS Editors

When James L. Gaudino, dean of the College of Communication and Information, applied for the position of president at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash., he didn’t actually think he would be a suitable candidate.

“I consider myself a nontraditional candidate,” Gaudino said on his academic experience. “The other candidates have lots of experience.”

He had been thinking about applying for the presidential position for a year, but only became aware of the CWU position six weeks ago.

“It was not an active search, like reading the wanted ads every day,” Gaudino said.

Gaudino is one of the four finalists for president of the college. The college is a four-year public institution that focuses on four academic colleges: Arts and Humanities, Business, Education and Professional Studies, and Sciences.

CWU has been searching for a new president since Jerilyn S. McIntyre announced her retirement in January 2008.

The other three finalists are Linda Bennett, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Southern Indiana, Aaron Podolefsky, president of the University of Central Missouri and Greg Weisenstein, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Dakota.

Gaudino won’t know until late December if he has been accepted as the new president.

The interviewing process will be a four-day event, Nov. 2 through 5, in which candidates will be taken around the campus and community to be interviewed by the staff, the students, the faculty, the board of trustees and the community.

Gaudino has been dean of CCI since 2003 – a year after CCI began.

“He’s the reason for how the college is currently shaped,” said Jeff Fruit, director of the school of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The possible move from dean to president hasn’t fazed Gaudino. He said his staff and supervisors would be OK with whatever happens, but the faculty might have second guesses. But, he said, if he had his wish, no one would know about this.

“The faculty might view it as a dramatic change in direction because of my departure,” Gaudino said.

Rather than looking to the past, though, he looks to the future dean and what would happen to CCI when he’s gone.

“A good leader sees what’s good and jumps in front of it and says, ‘OK, let’s go,’ Gaudino said.

“Colleges like this have momentum. Another dean won’t change that.”

Before coming to Kent State, Gaudino was the executive director of the National Communication Association in Washington. Prior to that, he was an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University and George Washington University, as well as a faculty member at Michigan State University.

Fruit agreed that the college will continue working on the things that it is doing now.

“New leadership will bring new ideas,” Fruit said. “Just like new faculty bring a different approach to the table.”

Yet, even with the enticement of new ideas and a fresh perspective, Fruit would miss Gaudino as the dean.

“We wish him the best, but we hope he stays here,” he said.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Amy Szabo at [email protected].