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10/19/2017 - Itta Bena, Miss.

Members of the Board Search Committee leading the search for the next president of Mississippi Valley State University heard from constituency groups in Campus Listening Sessions on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

The discussions centered on the qualities and qualifications stakeholders believe the next institutional executive officer should possess. The minutes from the Listening Sessions are below.

Mississippi Valley State University Presidential Search Listening Sessions October 12, 2017 Schedule:

3:00 p.m. - 3:40 p.m.Students
3:45 p.m. - 4:25 p.m.Administration
4:30 p.m. - 5:10 p.m.Faculty & Staff
5:15 p.m. - 5:55 p.m.Alumni & Community

Trustee Shane Hooper, Chair of IHL Board Search Committee, opened each session by welcoming the audience and introducing each member of IHL's Trustee Board. He stated that the University is in great financial shape, enrollment is solid and cash on hand has improved by 65%. He also stated that he wanted the group to carefully consider the type of leader they desire to see as the next President. He gave an overview of the process, the objectives for each session, and introduced members of the Board. In addition to Trustee Hooper, other Trustees present were Dr. Glenn Boyce (Commissioner), Dr. Ford Dye, Ann H. Lamar, Hal Parker, Alan W. Perry, Dr. J Walt Starr, and Chip Morgan. He opened the floor to hear feedback and comments from the audience. He asked each representative to come up to the mic when making comments.

Session 1 - Students

  • Someone who cares about the university and is not here to use Valley as a stepping stone or to build his/her resume. He/she also needs to have longevity and cares for the well-being of the students.
  • Someone who's approachable
  • Someone like Dr. Briggs ( he has shown us that he's not afraid to tell students if something can or can't be done)
  • Someone who has networking qualities
  • Someone who is family oriented with a strong business mind and understands that "the life of all students matters."
  • Someone who will help prepare us for grad school, jobs, internships, and networking with other individuals.
  • Someone who shares the same qualities as Dr. Briggs; someone who's positive and driven to make this the best university it can be.
  • Someone who is hands-on and would find ways to better the lives of students.
  • Know the demographics and make decisions to best fit the students and the university.
  • Have a vision for a brighter future for the students
  • Someone who knows the campus and makes us feel like we are supported
  • Someone that will help us to be better students
  • Someone who has a focus on academics (we are losing students because of the lack of majors)
  • Someone who's down to earth; sensitive, but understanding;
  • Someone who's not going to play about us or with us;
  • Someone who's motivated, lifts us up, and someone to move us forward
  • Someone who's dedicated and has Valley's interest at heart, who looks out for the students as if they were his own
  • Someone who can build connections to surrounding communities.

Questions that were asked by students at the end of the session:

  1. Are there other potential candidates?
  2. What area does your search include, in-state, nationally, etc?
  3. Why did you remove Dr. Bynum if he was doing such a good job?

Session 2 - Administration


  • Someone who is not afraid to make hard decisions to move MVSU forward, someone who will not give in to nepotism and favoritism and someone who understands the role of Academic Affairs in this 21st century so that students can be able to compete globally.
  • A President, who will address concerns such as campus lighting, computer services, paid reserved faculty parking, faculty, academics and the small issues.
  • A President who clearly understands strategic planning, meeting the students where they are and also understand the geographic location of MVSU.
  • Understand academic and faculty are important to this University.
  • A President who promotes IHL's newest initiative, C2C.
  • Has the ability to lead, evaluate the need of the University and be able to make hard decisions
  • Has a vision and plan to lead and move the University forward.
  • Preserve and protect MVSU's history and appreciates the legacy and tradition of the University and does not demean or shame its history.
  • Folks who are not from this region cannot appreciate the purpose and legacy like the current faculty and administration.
  • A leader is not a manger.
  • Should have expectations of where the institution is going and should make connections with external funders.
  • Stand up for MVSU with the legislature to get the appropriate dollars to sustain and not penalize us for what we do not have.
  • Be a fundraiser.
  • Understands the targeted population.
  • Have ideas about where the institution needs to go, be able to motivate, be a good leader, literally think outside of the box, embrace and accept the culture of our region, understand our mission and finally be a fundraiser.
  • Not lumping faculty and staff together. Both groups have separate needs and issues and the next President should be able to assess both groups separately and make a collective decision.
  • Bring back Delta Research and Cultural Institute (DRCI)
  • Not afraid to try new things.

Session 3 - Faculty and Staff

  • Have MVSU at heart not based on words but actions.
  • Understand the uniqueness of the Delta by understanding the population at Valley
  • Proven leader - leads by example
  • Capable of initiating a vision
  • Motivating, aspiring and empowering
  • Possess high level of integrity
  • Confident decision maker
  • Strengthen and strategically grow MVSU
  • Clear and define approach to handling situations at MVSU
  • Experience with HBCU's
  • Knowledge and appreciation of life in the MS Delta
  • Actively participate in community
  • Demonstrate knowledge of financial management
  • Strong communication skills and able to build a team
  • Experience with distance education
  • Unify university
  • Change moral, i.e. cotton field mentality
  • Student centerless - retain students
  • A leader that will listen
  • Stability
  • Move this University upward

Session 4 - Alumni & Community

  • Importance of enrollment growth
  • Advocate for blues and gospel legacy of the MS Delta
  • Knowledge and appreciation of the challenges that MVSU has overcome
  • Not satisfied with lowest enrollment, lowest budget
  • Alleviate problem of closed dormitory
  • Gave accolades for Dr. Briggs
  • Lead with a shared vision
  • Personal and professional integrity
  • People person - innovative
  • Understand cultural
  • Move the University forward
  • Competent in what he says and does
  • Accolades for Dr. Briggs as be next president of MVSU
  • Does not endorse DR. Briggs
  • With a vision, knows growth
  • Bring unity and love
  • A leader that's viable
  • Transformational leader
  • Not afraid to engage faculty, staff, and students
  • Empowered to take action
  • Someone that's not satisfied with the status quo
  • Possess characteristics of an effective leader
  • Unify the University
  • Ambassador for the University
  • Knowledge of recruitment and retention

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