University System announces presidential search committee

By: Caitlyn Freeman, Editor in Chief 

The University System of Maryland announced the 24-member committee tasked with finding Towson University’s next president on Friday. 

The committee, led by University System Board of Regents member Ellen Fish, will lead the charge in replacing former President Kim Schatzel, who left on Feb. 1 to head the University of Louisville.

In a message to the campus, System Chancellor Jay Perman said he hopes the committee will find a president to help aid Towson’s growth. 

“I know [the committee will] bring considerable knowledge and important perspectives to the task of selecting a president who can build on TU’s impressive record of excellence,” he wrote. “I thank them for their willingness to take on this vital work.”

The President Search and Screening Committee, will work with search firm Isaacson, Miller to find potential candidates. 

The University System held a nomination process to find the committee’s members.

Alongside several alumni and community members, each university shared governance body has a committee representative. The Chairs of the Academic and Staff Senates, Desiree Rowe and Heather Sorensen, will serve on the committee. 

Some additional Towson faculty members include: 

  • Sidd Kaza, associate provost & dean, Research & Graduate School 
  • Lisa Plowfield, dean, College of Health Professions 
  • Suzanna Yaukey, dean, Library 
  • Matt Lenno, assistant vice president, Student Life, Student Affairs
  • Eric Jones Jr., associate vice president, Financial Affairs

TU Foundation Board President Edna Primrose was selected for the committee. She declined a request to comment on her appointment.

Representing the Student Government Association, President Jordan Colquitt said he hopes Towson’s next president will be someone who can connect well with the student body and continue to support the university’s strategic plan. 

“Someone that’s student-centered too that can build relationships with different departments,  different clubs that can not only connect SGA but the student body as well,” Colquitt said in an interview.  

Further, he said it’s important to have a diverse candidate. Since its founding in 1866, Towson has never had a person of color serve as its president. As of the fall 2022 semester, the university is on track to becoming a majority-minority institution.

“Our leadership needs to be reflective of the student body,” Colquitt said. 

The Towerlight reached out to several search committee members but did not receive a response by publication Monday. 

After Schatzel’s departure, Melanie Perreault became Towson’s interim president. She had been previously serving as the provost. 

Perreault, who came to Towson in 2019, did not say whether or not she’d throw her hat in the ring to become Schatzel’s permanent replacement. 

“So I’m just focused on the interim presidency right now and transition, and we’ll see,” she said in a January interview. “I’m excited to support the search.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story said there was 23 members on the search committee. There is 24. The Towerlight regrets this error.


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