The Women’s and Pride Centers search for an assistant director

Published by Allison Downs, Date: September 19, 2019
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Several candidates for the open assistant director position for the Women’s and Pride Center have presented their visions and ideas during open sessions with faculty, staff and students.

Kevin McCarthy, Chair of the search committee, said there are four important qualities the committee is looking for in the ideal candidate: student-focused, experienced in one or both “issue areas” that the Women’s and Pride Center would handle, understanding of diversity and inclusion, and leadership potential.

“This is such an important role on campus,” McCarthy said. “We’re looking for somebody who can help shape the vision of what these centers will look like in the future.”

The hiring process for the position is simple but in-depth. The position was posted on SRU’s website and other higher education job sites in early July, and the search committee began screening applicants soon after. McCarthy said applicants who the search committee feels have the most potential were invited for phone interiews and on-campus interviews. Candidates also attended lunch with student workers from the Women’s Center and presented their goals and plans for SRU during open sessions.

During the open-session presentations, candidates were asked to describe the strategies and programming they would use to address what they see as the top issues facing women and LGBTQ+ students in colleges and universities.

Dr. Ashleigh Bingham, a graduate assistant to the Women’s and Gender Studies program at Ball State University and one of the candidates, said she focuses on three principles in her work: invitation, investment and collaboration. These principles are the base of Bingham’s ideas for SRU: inviting queer-identifying professionals for networking events to share their experiences, investing in student-run recurring events like a monthly “Lavender Lounge,” a safe space for queer women of color where they can discuss their experiences, and collaborating with other organizations for large-scale, campus-wide events.

Bingham was among five candidates brought to campus, and those five candidates were among a large, competitive applicant pool. McCarthy said the search committee saw applications from across the country with a large variety of experiences within and outside of higher education. He added that the candidates who were brought to SRU were incredible and that a few have really stood out.

McCarthy has been encouraged by the participation and support from the SRU community. Students, faculty and staff  from a variety of departments and offices have all attended open sessions, and everyone has asked each candidate great, thought-provoking questions and provided greatly detailed feedback. He added that these different perspectives from everyone who attended open sessions help the search committee validate their candidate selections.

“These people are taking time out of their busy schedules to come see a potential colleague or adviser,” McCarthy said. “They have a vested interest in making sure this position sees a really vibrant, excellent candidate.”

After reviewing interviews and collecting feedback from students and others who attended the open-session presentations, the search committee will compile a list of the most qualified candidates for the hiring manager. While it’s unknown when the position will be filled, McCarthy said it’s likely that the position will be filled soon.

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