Slippery Rock’s long presidential search process came to an end last month with the appointment of Dr. William Behre, leaving the current president of SRU-APSCUF eager to build a positive relationship with him and his administration.
Dr. Ben Shaevitz, physics professor and current president of the SRU chapter of APSCUF, has been involved with the union since he first arrived on campus in 1989. Shaevitz has been president for the past three years and was recently re-elected for another two-year term. Although he has not yet met face to face with Dr. Behre, he is encouraged by what he has been saying about SRU.
“When I saw what he said his goals would be, I liked that,” Shaevitz said. “I liked what he said. I liked that students were front and center for him. It’s easy to look at this place as a business, that it’s purpose for existing is as an organization. So I really like what he said and I’m anxious to meet him.”
Shaevitz views SRU as a family business of sorts. Despite growing by more than 3,500 students since he became a professor, Shaevitz is happy to see the same quality of education continue to be provided for students.
“Our enrollment increase is an indication that we’re doing something right,” Shaevitz said. “Even though we’ve grown larger, we’ve still maintained our identity. There’s just something intangible about this place that makes it special compared to other schools.”
Shaevitz has also been pleased with the attitude that Behre has taken so far about becoming president. He feels as though Behre recognizes the place Slippery Rock is currently in and wants to keep the university trending in the right direction.
“He said during his first campus visit after he was appointed that he didn’t want to break anything,” Shaevitz said. “It seems like he really wants to take a step back and learn how things operate here, which is highly encouraging to me.”
More than anything, Shaevitz is eager to meet and start establishing a rapport with Behre starting this summer. He hopes to have the same positive relationships that he has had with Norton and interim president Dr. Philip Way.
“Other state school systems have fallen into the pitfalls of not addressing long rooted tension,” Shaevitz said. “I’ve experienced great internal dialogue with Cheryl and Philip that have helped us address our differences. I hope that Dr. Behre and I will be able to have that same relationship and work together in order to provide students with the best possible educational experience.”