And the new "interim" president is…

… Craig Dean Willis, the recently retired president of Lock Haven University, in Pennsylvania. Go to the EMU homepage to learn very minimal details.

I have been doing some googling about this guy, but I’ve found very little. I will say this in the “for what it’s worth” category of things:

* Lock Haven University, while a school that originated as a “normal school,” seems quite a bit different than EMU to me. It’s a small school– less than 5,000 students– and it is in rural Pennsylvania.

* Willis was president of Lock Haven for 12 years, and at one point in time, that made him one of the longest serving university presidents in the country.

* On first glance, I couldn’t find anything particularly negative about Willis, nothing along the lines of “Willis house controversy lingers” or “Willis farewell canceled because of protests” or something like that.

So, we’ll see. I wonder if Willis fully understands what he’s got himself into…

I thought I’d mention that the board didn’t pick Willis’ name out of a hat– well, at least not exactly. Apparently, Willis works for The Registry for College and University Presidents, an organization that specializes in placing interim college and university presidents. In fact, as I understand the story as reported on WEMU this morning, Willis will technically work for this organization, and not EMU.

In other words, Willis is a “temp.” I used to be a temp for about a year and a half, between the time I was in school for my MFA and my PhD, and while the work I did back then (mostly things like filing and simple computer work) is different from what Willis will be expected to do, the principle is the same: EMU will pay “The Registry” (WEMU just reported this morning that we’ll pay them $23,000 a month for Willis), and then “The Registry” will pay Willis (and I assure you that it will be less than $23,000 a month).

Two more thoughts on this:

* I don’t want to disparage the concept of going to this agency and hiring a temp president. Far from it. This very well may be the first “smart thing” the EMU board of regents has done in, well, years…

* It’s kind of fascinating to me that there is enough of a “demand” out there to keep a company in business that specializes in placing interim presidents in colleges and universities. That tells me there must be a lot of interim presidents out there.

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