INSTITUTE, W.Va. -- Students, faculty, staff and community members met at West Virginia State University Friday morning to share their thoughts about the university's future with two consultants hired to help find a new president.
The search began after longtime President Hazo W. Carter Jr. announced in August that he would leave his post by July 1.
Carter's announcement came one week after WVSU faculty members passed a no-confidence resolution against him by a 67-15 vote, with 14 abstentions. Many faculty members stressed they felt no personal animus against Carter, but said the university was stagnating under his leadership.
On Friday, Barbara Ladner, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, said the school needs to promote itself better.
"Marketing of ourselves has been absent," Ladner told the consultants. "The president needs to make sure that is happening" and "needs to improve our marketing and fundraising."
Betty Asher and James Lincoln -- from the Florida-based consulting firm of Greenwood/Asher and Associates, which helps find people to lead educational and nonprofit institutions -- led the discussions. The firm recently helped find presidents for West Virginia University, Ohio University, Ohio State University and the University of Maryland.
"We will be talking to hundreds of people around the country in the next 60 days," Asher said, "to recruit a new president for the university."
Tim Ruhnke, a WVSU biology professor and chairman of the Faculty Senate, said the new president should be "a person who is enthusiastic about the institution and radiates that enthusiasm."
Political science professor Frank Vaughan agreed.
"We are really not a dynamic university, but we have the capacity to be," he said. "We have students who, for a variety of reasons, would not get a college education if they were not here.
"A lot of our current dissatisfaction is because of stagnation," Vaughan said. "We need someone who will work with the state Legislature, the [state Higher Education Policy Commission], faculty and students."
William Palmer, a senior majoring in business management, said, "We need someone who is personable with students, who doesn't mind coming in and having lunch with us. . . . There has been no interaction between the president and students here.
"Another duty of the president is fundraising," Palmer said. "There has been a lack of that here, too."
He praised the long history of WVSU, which opened in 1891.
"We should be proud that Carter G. Woodson was part of the university," he said. Woodson, who lived from 1875 to 1950, was a major national scholar in black history.