FAIRBORN — Chancellor Deborah Ford is in the midst of a visit to Wright State University as the second of three finalists for the college’s presidential position.
She brought up three critical reasons why she is attracted to serving the Wright State community.
“First of all, its mission alignment — it aligns with who I am as a person and who I am as a professional,” Ford said. “The second reason, is the students who are served here at the university — [I am] very attracted to the diverse students that are very similar to the students at [my current university] and because I think we learn in a diverse environment, and Wright State certainly does that.”
“The third,” she added. “It would be an opportunity to be closer to home, which is Louisville, Kentucky.”
She started her visit Feb. 5 and will continue spending time on both the Dayton and Lake campuses through Tuesday, Feb. 7, in which she is scheduled to meet with staff, students and Wright State officials in addition to community leaders. The next candidate will start his or her visit Tuesday, Feb. 7 until Thursday, Feb. 9. The name and profile of the third candidate was not released as of press time Feb. 6.
“I see the glass as half-full, so I try to look at challenges as opportunities to focus on continuous improvement and continuously improve,” Ford said. “Certainly the fiscal challenges the university faces are things that need to be addressed and understood. You have to first understand and develop a plan on how to remedy those … The fiscal model for higher education is changing in higher education. Wright State is not immune to that and is not the only institution having financial challenges.”
“What we have to do is understand it and consider best practices,” Ford added. “What can we do to make sure at the end of the day, we’re living our mission which is to provide quality education experiences across the span of our academic programs?”
Ford began serving as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 2009. She formerly served as vice president of student affairs and professor at the University of West Florida, in addition to vice president for student affairs, dean of students and associate professor at Spalding University.
She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in counseling and guidance from the University of Louisville, a Master of Education in college student personnel from Indiana University and her Doctorate of Education in educational administration from the University of Louisville.
Ford’s dissertation, upon earning her ED.d degree, highlighted “judicial responses to adverse academic decisions affecting post-secondary students since Horowitz and Ewing,” was awarded the John M. Houchens Prize, as the University of Louisville’s Dissertation of the Year.
“I bring a passion for higher education and for student success,” Ford said. “And I bring an authenticity — I am who I am — and I am a learner and want to learn how best to advance the institution and I want to be that champion and advocate for the institution.”
Wright State’s current president, Dr. David Hopkins, announced his retirement May 2, 2016, saying he would step down when his contract expires at the conclusion of June this year. The school went to work finding his replacement in the following months, forming a search committee that includes 21 individuals and hiring Academic Search, and a specialized search firm, to assist in the process.
Wright State intends on announcing Hopkins’ successor, the seventh individual that will take the university’s reins, in the coming months.
More information about Ford, including her cover letter and CV, can be found online at http://www.wright.edu/presidential-search/candidate-visits#ford.
Reach Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.