by Adrian Lee and Griffin McIness – Feb. 17, 2011
Over the past few months, we’ve been watching the King’s presidential selection process closely, and have included in this issue a short introduction to the three final candidates (see “Presidents Choice”).
From the looks of it, the Board of Governors has gone about its search the right way. The presidential search committee was formed almost a year ago, a professional headhunter was hired to track down qualified candidates, and the list has been narrowed down from more than 30 names to just three; all part of a process that any sizable institution or corporation would undertake to find a suitable head administrator.
But as in any such process, there should exist a certain reciprocity. Whoever is chosen will be our CEO, with all the responsibilities such a position entails (not to mention perks). In other words, it’s a good gig.
So we at the Watch were a little disappointed when (publicly, at least) none of the three final candidates presented any kind of concrete vision for the future of the school. Instead, we were told how wonderful a liberal arts education is. How proud we should be of our school. How important we are.
We get it. Everyone loves King’s. But love is different than lip service. Yes, we’re a school with a tight-knit community, with some of the finest liberal arts programs anywhere. But these are the qualities that a quick jaunt to our website could find.
And a quick confessional—it was some variation on that sort of thinking, our surface-deep comprehension of what it meant to be a part of the school, that had us rethinking the Watch. There was a time at the beginning of our terms when we were bored of the usual Watch shtick. After all, there are only so many times you can report on a price increase in the Wardroom. And we laid the blame at King’s feet. If we pulled our focus to the greater community, we said, that would allow us a greater quantity of stories that were simply more important.
We’ve found that thinking to be wrong. The moment that the Watch found its voice and vision was exactly when we realized that the things that affect King’s students are the most important. Things like street-storming rallies (“Extreme Measures”), student patrol safety (“King’s Briefs”), a sister caught amid a revolution (“As Egypt Erupts”), the story behind a King’s band’s breakup (“Finding Providence”)—they remind us that we roam a beat for a reason.
In fact, if anything, the content we’ve made directly for King’s is what we’ve been proudest of. With our new website, we’ve been able to deliver hard news as it happens, followed by in-depth features in our print edition. From Justis Danto-Clancy’s theatre reviews to our coverage of plagiarism, we’ve covered stories that directly relate to King’s students, and generated the debates we all need to have.
And people are taking notice. According to online comments, our same-day coverage of Feb. 2’s Student Day of Action managed to bring immediacy and trigger conversation within an energizing moment. Our story “Black Market Academia” inspired articles in both the Chronicle-Herald and King’s own Halifax Commoner. Even our news briefs have been noticed, under-thing logos and all.
All this to say, we finally feel like the Watch might be used as more than just spare toilet paper, or as a coaster on your bedside table (in more ways than one – see “Missionary Impossible”).
We’ve learned to pay attention to the nuances and perspectives that lie beyond the stone columns and textbooks. Maybe our presidential candidates should, too.
How are any of the candidates going to account for the rising cost of faculty salaries over the next few years? How are they going to manage the variety of space and infrastructure issues at the school? Where do they see us in the next five years? Ten? Twenty?
We don’t expect any of the candidates to be experts. Two of them don’t even live in the province. But in any high-level hiring process, applicants are expected to do their research and bring real ideas to the table.
Even though we’re a small school, we need a real leader. So to Drs. Leavitt, Gantar, and Desserud: What is your vision?
Show us what you’ve got. Frankly, King’s has proven we deserve it.