Rudolph K. Glocker, Ballot Position No. 8
Read Glocker’s official bio and position statement here (PDF download).
1. What should Penn State be looking for in its next president?
Penn State’s next President needs to have excellent leadership and communication skills as well as expertise in on-line education. Penn State enters 2013 facing daunting challenges and also great opportunities. The aforementioned skills will be necessary to seize these opportunities and overcome these challenges. Penn State’s next President is going to have to lead the University community over the next several years. Penn State is currently experiencing a prolonged leadership vacuum that is damaging both its long and short-term prospects. The next President will need to demonstrate that there is a plan and a process for Penn State to enhance its statue in the educational community. The President will also need to pull together students, faculty, staff and alumni to achieve these goals. Communication skills are critical. There currently exists an incredible amount of dissention and angst amongst different Penn State communities. The next President will have to reach out to each of these constituencies, ease their anxieties, help them understand where the University is going, how it is going to get there and how they can help. This is no small task. On-line education represents one of Penn State’s largest challenges and opportunities. Penn State is currently a leader in the space, but the landscape is changing every week. It will be critical that the next University President understands this growing fields, Penn State’s strengths and weaknesses and quickly establishes how Penn State can further its lead amongst institutions in the space.
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.
The most important reform for the Board of Trustees is transparency and the accountability that comes with it. As Louis Brandeis stated, “sunshine is best disinfectant.” In order to achieve greater transparency, I would push for the following changes:
1) Greater proportion of Trustees elected directly by the alumni. Alumni Trustees should represent a majority of the board.
2) The process, criteria and candidates for all Trustees not voted on directly by the alumni should be made clear and announced publicly—as should the actual votes by Trustees in terms of their candidacies and election.
3) The election of the Executive Committee of the Board should follow the same process.
4) All votes at the committee and full board levels should be ‘roll call’ votes—all applicable Board members are yes, no or abstain. These votes should be made public as soon as reasonably possible.
5) Board members should be able to communicate their stand on issues before the board publicly.
These five changes will greatly increase the transparency of the Board as well as the accountability that comes with it. The University community deserves to know where Trustees stand on issues before the board—both before and after their votes.
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?
Alumni Trustees need to play three roles on the Board of Trustees. First, they need to represent the long-term view of Penn State. Secondly, they need to be a voice for alumni. Thirdly, they need to educate their fellow Trustees on how Board decisions affect alumni. Penn State Alums are Penn Staters for life. Once you get your degree, you are a graduate—and that will never change. Alumni Trustees need to think about Board decisions with a 50-year view. How will these decisions affect Penn State over the next 10, 20, 50 years as opposed to the next 1-3 years? Alumni Trustees are the long-term guardians of the values, principles and standards of what it means to be a Penn State graduate. Alumni Trustees are advocates for alums. Penn State is a great University with an outstanding alumni base. The Alumni Trustees need to push matters that are relevant and important to Penn State Alums. Be their voice on the Board, raise their concerns and help to solve their issues. Finally, the Alumni Trustees need to educate other Trustees on how Board decisions will affect alums. Do these decisions augment or decrease the statue of being a Penn State graduate? How can potential changes/decisions be modified to make sure the alumni concerns are addressed or mitigated? In summary, the Alumni Trustees need to focus on the long term implications of decisions, advocate for their fellow alums and educate the Board on how decisions affect alums.