Viewpoint: New WSU president should . . .

The four finalists for the position of Weber State University president are meeting with groups on campus today. The Signpost staff, although unsure of who of the four would make the best president, hopes he or she has these qualities and priorities when leading our school.

The new president should continue to foster a relationship with WSU and each campus’ community. Our institution makes community outreach a priority and takes pride in those partnerships. The new president should create new partnerships to help our communities “bleed purple.” Many students feel that WSU has few traditions and seem to think of it as a pit stop. Partnering with the community to sponsor more events like the Damian Lillard Day celebration this summer or create a downtown WSU presence will make more prospective students excited to one day be a Wildcat. An increase in community-wide school spirit will help WSU continue to compete with other Utah universities and rid itself of the reputation for being “just Weber.”

The new president should also work to expand our institution. WSU’s campuses should continue to grow so more students’ specific needs can be met. And, although WSU already offers more than 250 undergraduate certificate and degree programs and 11 graduate degrees, the president should work to add more programs and improve existing programs. Among new programs to be added, the new president should work to provide students with more online degree options to provide greater flexibility to meet the complex needs of students balancing school, work and family. That being said, the new president should understand and preserve WSU’s small-school feel, which gives students premium access to qualified teachers and, often, small class sizes. However, we wouldn’t mind some big-school perks, too, like more dorms, and more students to want to live in dorms.

Finally, the new president should also understand and respect WSU’s diverse student body. Many WSU students are nontraditional and are married or have children, or live in other circumstances that make them unlike most other college students. WSU comprises students from many different religious and ethnic backgrounds. WSU is a student-centered environment, and the president should understand the needs of our demographics and how to meet those needs.