Jeffrey N. Goldsmith, Ballot Position No. 27
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Read Goldsmith’s official bio and position statement here (PDF download).
1. What should Penn State be looking for in its next president?
The choice for the next President of Penn State is among the most important issues that will come before the Board of Trustees. First and foremost, the University needs a strong leader. The President should be able to exercise independent judgment when appropriate but also be aware of when the Board should be consulted before taking action. That is a delicate balance but a person who knows how to make that determination will be able to work with the board in an effective manner without being micro managed. We need a President who will be a strong advocate for Penn State. It does not help our reputation as an educational institution, if the face of the University accepts, without question, sanctions that siphon resources and denies young people the opportunity to further their education. A true leader knows how to weigh what is an appropriate response and takes that route, even if it is not the easiest road to follow. We need a President who will engage all of the constituencies of the University; not by setting up public relations speaking tours but by actually listening to and incorporating the constructive recommendations of the various stakeholders. We are a high quality institution with many challenges ahead of us. We need a leader who will carry us forward with pride.
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.
This question goes to the heart of how the Board will be governed in the years to come. The limited space here does not allow for the kind of thorough response a topic of this magnitude deserves. I have written a 10 page position statement on the need for reform that I will send to anyone who requests it. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do believe the Wagner Recommendations fall far short of what is needed. Changes to the board’s structure have not been made since the 1950s. I propose eliminating the Business & Industry and Agri Business slots along with the slots for the Governor, Cabinet Secretaries, the University President and the Emeritus Trustees. I would add representation for students, faculty and the State College community. I have studied the make up of other university boards, met with legislators, met with the current Auditor General, talked with students, read fully the Wagner Report and the report of the Faculty Senate. I have studied the history of the University, including the evolution of the Board of Trustees. We will not have a second chance anytime soon to enact real reform. That was the message I received from the government officials I met with. Our window of opportunity is small. We need to get it right, now…we cannot settle for pseudo reform that satisfies our hunger for change but accomplishes nothing of substance. This will not be easy but substantial change never is. Working together, we will make a difference!
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?
I see my role on the board to be a strong advocate for promoting the mission of the University; providing a quality education that is financially accessible to the average Pennsylvania family. The role of the Board in governing PSU should be to set policy and guidelines. It has the responsibility to oversee but not micromanage the administration. Let me be more specific. It is not the role of the Board to be in the President’s office on a daily basis, directing how the day to day operations of the University are run. However, when an issue comes up that will clearly have an impact on the University, the Board should not wait to be “informed” by the administration. I will use the Sandusky scandal as an example. Had I been a member of the Board, after reading the Patriot News article on March 31, I would have immediately called the Board Chair and asked him when he was meeting with the President. Not having a plan of action to deal with major issues of this nature is a major dereliction of responsibility. For more information on my views, feel free to visit my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyNGoldsmithForPennStateTrustee or @jgold312 on Twitter or email me at email@example.com. I welcome your questions and look forward to serving you on the Board of Trustees … #27 on your ballot!