The University of Northern Colorado held a student forum for the UNC presidential search on Wednesday with Managing Partner Alberto M. Pimentel from Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates hosting the forum.
According to the firm’s website, Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates is an executive search firm that specializes in higher education recruitment for colleges and universities. According to Pimentel, it is their job to convince potential presidents to pack up and move to Greeley. The firm began making phone calls in November to begin the conversation about the presidency, but not for recruitment.
“For the next two days I am meeting with students, faculty and staff,” Pimentel said, addressing the UNC community. “I can’t represent you well until I know what you want.”
Pimentel asked several questions such as what the current challenges are at UNC, what does someone need in order to be successful at this university, and what the community is like within UNC and in Greeley.
One student at the panel said that UNC is ready for a person of color. Another said that while the cultural centers and the Caucasian staff and faculty are amazing, they were also ready for more diverse candidates.
In response to one question about the needs on campus, both students agreed that they would like to see more involvement between administrators and students, as well as someone who supports the faculty and staff.
One of the students also said when President Trump came to UNC in November of 2016, many students felt discouraged and had no support from the administration. Both students agreed that with regards to a candidate being successful, UNC needs someone who is willing to defend students and prioritize their needs.
“I’d be absolutely thrilled for a person from a student affairs background,” one student said. “I’d be very disappointed with a person without a higher education background.”
When asked about how to keep the public updated on the search process, Pimentel said the firm would like to use some mechanism in order to give periodic updates with an indication of what they are doing.
“We want to communicate early, often, and in a way that is easy to understand,” Pimentel said.
According to Pimentel, the firm has advised the search committee to keep their options open about an open, closed, or hybrid search process.