Our wish list for the University of Wyoming presidential search is clear: Talk to us, board of trustees!
One thing the departed President Bob Sternberg did very well was articulate a vision for the university. We hope that both the board and the interim president work hard to explain what strengths they hope to build on at the university and what weaknesses need to be addressed.
In today’s “Look Ahead” report on the presidential search, we learn that UW Trustees President Dave Bostrom doesn’t expect a new president to be appointed quickly.
To those who are frustrated that a UW football coach could be hired within a week of the previous coach’s departure, in contrast to the slow move toward hiring a president, Bostrom says that presidential searches are different for a couple of reasons. One is that presidents tend to change jobs in the summer, at the end of a school year. And the other is that a president “represents the entire institution and will set the tone and direction of the entire enterprise.”
That is one point we can all agree on: The president is key to defining the purpose of the university. Since the trustees plan to continue with an interim president for the near future, it’s even more important that they themselves take on the role of communicating with the residents of the state.
A second point we can agree on: Wyoming people are focused on their only public four-year university. Trustees can’t keep them in the dark over the course that university will take. They must step up to the role of talking with their constituents.
Natrona County schools face crucial year
Natrona County schools enter a decisive year that will affect the trajectory for years to come. We have the same message for the school district as for the university: Keep us in the loop. Also, we thank the district for its clear efforts to do just that.
This is the year that the Center for Advanced & Professional Studies (CAPs) will take shape. The Board of Trustees will also make a decision this month on whether to ask voters to approve a $44 million bond issue.
CAPS and the bond issue both attempt to address, among other things, the dropout rate of 26 percent. The rate is higher than the state average. It’s also higher than we can accept for our young people.
That large number of teens who don’t graduate from high school will face a stunted future. For every $100 a dropout earns, a high school graduate will have earned $1,000, according to the book on high school reform, “Raising the Grade.”
We offer all our support to the essential task of improving the graduation rate. But there’s more: We urge the district to address the 74 percent of Natrona County students who do get a diploma. Far too many of them face taking remedial classes to succeed in college.
It’s unacceptable that students taking the harder college prep classes and passing them are not necessarily equipped for college. As the president of the Wyoming Community College Commission Jim Rose warned recently, one-third of merit scholars in the Hathaway Scholarship Program need remedial work when they enter college.
We must ensure that the success of the 74 percent who do graduate is placed as a priority in Natrona County.
The focus on keeping kids in school is essential; it’s only fair that when they do graduate, they are well-prepared for what is next.