And then there were five

DKS Editors

It’s time to form another search party. Actually, make that a search committee.

Gayle Ormiston, associate provost for faculty affairs, announced his plans last week to leave Kent State after receiving the provost position at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. His departure makes him the fifth person to leave the Kent State administration since November.

Carolyn Pizzuto, former vice president for human resources, resigned in November to take a corporate position in Mogadore. David Creamer, former senior vice president for administration, left at the end of May for a similar position at Miami University. And longtime university spokesman Ron Kirksey retired in April, followed by Kathy Stafford, former vice president for university relations, at the end of June.

Clearly, that’s a lot of change at the top of the university in less than one year, especially considering none of those positions have been permanently replaced. Even so, the university community should not be too surprised.

As President Lester Lefton has repeatedly said, change is inevitable when a new president comes aboard. Presidents create new visions for universities within their first year or two at an institution – causing some to re-evaluate their career goals.

We see the logic in this argument. A big change, such as a new president and plan for the university, unleashes a ripple effect guaranteed to alter the makeup of the administration. Add several planned retirements to the mix and there is bound to be a slight revolving door syndrome for – we hope – a brief period.

Plus, Kent State is generally a well-run institution that, in turn, tends to breed very capable and talented administrators. Other universities have evidently recognized that fact, too.

Now Kent State should take a cue from other universities and look within itself to find a successor or two for these newly vacant administrative positions. Granted, not all positions can be filled from within the university. The university is, for good reasons, recruiting candidates from elsewhere for Creamer’s replacement.

Still, the benefits of exploring qualified candidates who are already Golden Flashes for other positions far outweigh the negatives:

&bull Promoting from within the university fosters a sense of continuity. Current employees are already aware of the university’s history, allowing them to focus on learning a new job – not an entirely new institution.

&bull That same university knowledge helps administrators make decisions grounded on past indicators of success and failure.

&bull Hiring internally creates an opportunity to make the university’s faculty and staff feel valued.

Sure, great people and great new ideas for Kent State can hail from other colleges and universities in the United States. But search committees should not automatically jump into external search mode. After all, both Creamer and Ormiston held various lower level positions at Kent State before landing their administrative positions.

We’re excited to see whom these search committees bring to campus. We just hope a few of the candidates do not have a very far commute to the interview. Promising individuals lurk in Kent State’s own backyard.

The above editorial is the consensus of the Summer Kent Stater editorial board.