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North Country/Tri-Lakes

Finding a SUNY president is no easy task

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Finding a SUNY president is no easy task
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It starts with a job vacancy, but filling it isn't as simple as putting an ad in the newspaper. The search for a SUNY college president is a long and complicated process that follows strict rules. Our Barry Wygel takes a look at the process that will be occurring at both SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton over the coming year.

ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. -- When looking for a new SUNY college president, every college must follow the strict set of guidelines established by SUNY in Albany.

"The process starts initially once there is a vacancy," said June O'Neill, chair of the SUNY Potsdam presidential search committee.

After an opening is identified, the SUNY Board of Trustees can appoint an acting or interim president to oversee the short-term future of the college, while the search committee is formed.

"That is essentially, since we are in football season, the kickoff of the presidential search," said O'Neill.

Search committees represent a cross-section of the college community with members of the college council, faculty and staff, and a student.

"The applications will come in, they will be reviewed the entire search committee. We will begin to narrow them into some subset that we're interested in doing a preliminary interview," said O'Neill.

Both SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton have established their presidential search committees and applications will soon begin to come in. The names of those being considered will be kept a secret until the final candidates are invited to tour the campus.

"At that point, their cover is blown, they have to agree to their names and resumes to be made public before they come to the campus, and when they come to the campus it is usually about a two and a half or three day interview," said O'Neill.

Once the committee selects its final candidates, those names go to the respective college council for approval, then onto the SUNY chancellor for approval, then the final hurdle, the SUNY Board of Trustees, who make the ultimate appointment.

The search committee will be working hard over the coming months to try and have a decision made before the start of summer. That was the new president can take over by the start of the next school year.

The only difference in the searches at SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton is that Canton's acting president is allowed to apply for the job, while Potsdam's interim president is not.

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