Christopher K. Bartnik, Ballot Position No. 9

BartnikChristopher K. Bartnik ’91, ’96 MBA Bus

Senior vice president/East region benefits leader
Wells Fargo & Co.
Chantilly, Va.

Read Bartnik’s official bio and position statement here (PDF download).

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1. What should Penn State be looking for in its next president?

The next president should have a record of success as President of a mid to major level University. He/she needs to be a visionary who verbalizes future trends in higher education. He/she should be a leader and a manager with experience in both the academic and business side of University functions. He/she must be able to verbalize specific steps to overhaul the University’s financial structure with the objective of stabilizing and ultimately reducing the cost of a Penn State education. Finally, the next President must be charismatic and capable of dealing in the media spotlight. They should address the current sanctions levied by the NCAA. Given the feedback provided by George Mitchell and Penn State’s historical leadership in the development of the full student athlete, the new President should be willing to ask to have the sanctions removed.

2. What changes or reforms should the Board of Trustees consider to help the university progress after the events of 2011 and 2012? Please explain why—or, if you don’t think reform is needed, please explain why not.

Reforms for the Board of Trustees is essential. Trust between the Trustees and a broad base of alumni has been severely damaged. I support the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Auditor General. While the current Board is taking a piecemeal approach to accepting individual recommendations as opposed to accepting the recommendations as a whole, I would support an effort to accept them in whole. I support eliminating voting rights of the Governor and the University President. I support the recommendation to make Penn State adhere to the “right to know laws”, and I would push for imposition of term limits on all Trustees. Current size of the Board is unwieldy, I would push to reduce Board membership to no more than 21. I would also fight to modify the manner in how members are selected for the Board. The current process for selection of industry and farm members is opaque as is perceived as a process that reinforces the status quo. Finally, I would push for reduction of authority of the Executive Committee applying more emphasis to decision making by the full Board.

3. How do you define the role of an alumni trustee, and how would that inform the way you would approach your term on the board?

In my opinion, events of 2011 and 2012 have changed roles of the Trustees. Of course, the University Charter for Trustees defines the role of the members, and the Charter must form the foundation for actions of each Trustee. This includes key responsibilities like approving a Budget, selecting the University President, and acting in the best interest of Penn State. However, given current circumstances, I believe that Trustees have to be more open in their actions on behalf of the University and more available to constituents. Should the University be made subject to the “right to know laws”, transparency would be improved. Similarly, I believe Trustees should push for adherence to sunshine laws and if necessary, err on the side of openness. Finally, Board members need to stand up for Penn State and what it represents. The dialogue of the last 18 months has been owned by forces outside of our University. The Board needs to take back that dialogue so the truth about Penn State and what we stand for is once again something that makes us all Penn State Proud.

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