Oldsey Added to Trustee Presidential Selection Council

November 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm 2 comments

Bill Oldsey will join the Trustee Presidential Selection Council.

Bill Oldsey will join the Trustee Presidential Selection Council.

As far as Bill Oldsey ’76 was concerned, the reason he was added to the Trustee Presidential Selection Council was simple. “Some thought I might be able to add value to the process,” he said. “This is all about getting a world-class leader for this university, and I am proud and pleased to do anything I can to help contribute to that.”

The surprise announcement of Oldsey’s appointment, which kicked off Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, followed what seemed to be several weeks of discussion about the composition of the selection council. Anthony Lubrano ’82 had complained publicly about the fact that only one trustee elected by alumni was on the council, and a good part of Thursday’s meeting of the governance and long-range planning committee was devoted to the presidential search process.

The trustees had originally hoped to vote on a successor to Rod Erickson around this time, but the board’s apparent finalist turned out to have padded his compensation at SUNY’s Upstate Medical School. Board chair Keith Masser ’73 said adding an additional member to the selection council had been discussed  “since we’ve re-set the process, kind of.” He cited the need to reflect the latest additions to the board, who joined after the selection council had been chosen, and he said the specific decision was made because of Oldsey’s “unique experience.”

Oldsey was elected to the board by alumni in 2013 (he also ran in 2012), and he was endorsed by Penn Staters For Responsible Stewardship, which has been highly critical of the board’s handling of the Sandusky scandal and more recently of the presidential search process.

He also is one of the few members of the board with a strong background in higher education; Oldsey has worked in educational publishing for 30 years, and his parents were, as he put it, “both academicians.” Said Oldsey, “That’s one of the things I think that made me an interesting candidate when I ran last year.”

Only one other trustee, Marianne Ellis Alexander ’62, has significant experience in higher education; she spent 15 years as executive director and president of the Public Leadership Education Network. (The university president, of course, has higher education experience, but that’s no longer a voting position.)

Oldsey said he believes strongly that any updates about the presidential search need to come from Masser to eliminate the “possibility of problematic communication” when someone else speaks.

“It should also be noted that there are some really extraordinary people on this selection council that would have made good decisions with or without me,” he said.  “But I’m very pleased to be able to do this. I would run through a brick wall for this place to get the right leader, and that’s what this is about.”

Other notes from the Board of Trustees meeting:

Student Anthony Panichelli addresses the board during the public comment session.

Student Anthony Panichelli addresses the board during the public comment session.

—More than half of the speakers during the public comment session were students, who brought up weighty issues affecting students: representation on the Board of Trustees, the effect the Affordable Care Act may have on students by reducing work hours, and student loans. The hottest topic was advocating for a permanent student trustee. The board has included a student since 1973, when then-Gov. Milton Shapp appointed a student, and governors have continued that tradition.

But it is only a tradition. Student government representatives want to guarantee a seat, and they want that trustee to not be appointed by the governor, but chosen by students. Anthony Panichelli, a representative of the University Park Undergraduate Association, told the board that here should “never ever be a question again that there will be proper student representation.”

—The board made two changes to its bylaws: The annual meeting, when trustees choose their officers and take care of “other organizational business,” will now be in July. The annual meeting was previously in January, which did not match up with when new members join the board, which is July. It also added a seventh standing committee, the compensation committee.

As I’ve written in previous posts, this committee would help to determine salaries for several tiers of university officials, ranging from the president (its primary purpose) down through top vice presidents, the athletic director, and even some highly paid coaches.

After speaking with Frank Guadagnino ’78, an outside attorney hired by Penn State to consult on governance issues, I wrote this in September: The trustees have historically had an ad-hoc group called the compensation council, consisting of the chair, vice chair, immediate past chair, and chair of the finance and business committee. This group essentially approves compensation that is decided upon during the negotiation process, and it brings the president’s compensation before the board for approval. A review by Susan Basso, vice president for human resources, indicated the need for a more formal and structured process, so the governance committee has proposed the formation of a standing committee on compensation.

Joel Myers ’61, ’63g, ’71g, chair of the outreach committee, announced three changes to the public comment session that will be made after suggestions from alumna Alice Pope ’79, ’83g, ’86g: (1) people will be encouraged to direct questions to committee chairs, who will answer “respectful” queries or pass them on to the appropriate department, (2) a large digital clock will be used to time the three-minute each speaker gets a public comment, preventing the one-minute warning that Pope said may distract speakers, and (3) the possibility of increasing the 48-hour notice that speakers selected for public comment get to 72 hours or more, making the process easier on speakers from out of town.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

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Entry filed under: Board of Trustees. Tags: , , , , , , , .

The Penn Stater Daily — Nov. 22, 2013 The Penn Stater Daily — Nov. 25, 2013

2 Comments Add your own

  • […] selection council: A surprise announcement began Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting: Bill Oldsey ’76 was named to the Trustee Presidential Selection Council, meaning another trustee elected by alumni and another trustee with experience in higher education […]

  • 2. gershonpsu  |  November 25, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    When Bill says he would run through a brick wall for this University, you can believe it! A great choice and a Trustee we Alumni can trust.

    As for the name plate in the photo identifying him as Myers. NOT!

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