Scott T. Kimler, Ballot Position No. 39
Ladysmith, British Columbia, Canada
Read Kimler’s official bio and position statement here (PDF download).
1. What should Penn State be looking for in its next president?
The next president must carefully, but firmly, steer Penn State out of troubled waters.
I have met the Penn State presidential candidates. They are all brilliant and charismatic. Each has a strong academic background and possesses business acumen. They are engaging, warm individuals with good listening skills. They grasp your hand firmly, make eye contact when they speak and are good at remembering names. They enhance the Penn State family feel and embrace University traditions. When they say, “We Are,” it rings true. They are genuine and passionate about Penn State, about lowering tuition, and about promoting our academic and research strengths. They are great fundraisers and effective at increasing State appropriations. They assimilate data rapidly and have an uncanny ability to find ways Penn State can work smarter, saving money. They see the big picture and realize the potential of the World Campus as an integrated learning option. They have strong moral character, they willingly stand up for their beliefs, are honest and have long range focus.
Finding the next president is an important, defining moment in Penn State history and your input is vital. Have you met the next president? If so, nominate them at the Penn State Presidential Search website. Share your thoughts on what you want the next President to accomplish; what qualifications or experience you think are important; personal qualities you would like to see; or places the search firm Isaacson, Miller should look for candidates. Send your suggestions to PSUcomments@IMSearch.com.
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 September/October 2012 cover of this magazine asked, “now what?” My answer was clear: “BoT Reform”.
I realized that reform was needed, over a year ago and just dug in. I joined the six-person Executive Team at PSU-ReBOT.org (Penn Staters Reforming the Board of Trustees) in January 2012. Our 2500-member grassroots group researched and analyzed governance metrics for 60 other land-grand institutions. We shared our reform recommendations with the current board and with former Auditor General Jack Wagner. This work is the driving force behind his governance report, a total of six bills currently before the Pennsylvania General Assembly and a Senate hearing. These reforms will improve the board’s effectiveness by reducing its size and increasing its accountability and transparency.
Structural and cultural reforms are a great start, but we need to do more. We should work to cut administrative bloat, reduce tuition and increase fundraising and state appropriations. We should do a better job of highlighting our academic successes and research. Penn State has much to be proud about. We should solidify our brand and make improvements at every turn.
Take the alumni trustee election process. Instead of candidate information in individual PDF files, we could make improvements using modern technologies. Position statements and biographical sketches, along with links and social media contact information, all in one easy-to-use, interactive web page.
My goal is to continue making improvements to Penn State, by taking the next step with a seat on the 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?
Other than the difference in the manner in which they become members of the board, all trustees should be equal in responsibility and influence. Every trustee should place the best interests of Penn State above their own interests. My focus and work for the past year and a half has been to improve Penn State.
Now is the time for change. The Penn State board doesn’t need another lawyer, high-powered executive, or politician. It needs trustees with diverse backgrounds; trustees with time to devote to the job, a demonstrated commitment of service to the University, a fresh perspective, new ideas and a willingness to challenge the status quo.
Three words describe how I will approach my seat: innovate, communicate, and collaborate.
I didn’t wait for a seat on the board to start making a positive impact and my contributions are not limited to governance reform. I am an analytical person who thinks outside of the box. As a web-developer and social media adviser with years of tele-commuting experience, I will usher in a new era of trustee communication. I will fire on all social media channels, communicating with alumni and keeping them informed on governance matters. As a firefighter, I know that teamwork and collaboration is paramount and it is something we practice daily. Having established many solid working relationships within the Penn State community, I look forward to taking the next step and working directly on the board.
Scott Kimler: “Last on the ballot, first for Penn State.”
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