Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) has begun the search for its next president by assembling a committee that will conduct interviews regarding the position throughout the year. The committee will be headed by Cindy Todd, the Program Director of Art Education at KCAD, and Ron Ricksen, the Academic Dean and Professor of Graphic Design.
In a recent campus memorandum, Ferris President David Eisler remarked that he is “confident they will provide superb leadership to the committee and the College in this role.” The committee is set to be comprised of various members of KCAD faculty and, according to Todd, is close to being finalized.
“Together we will all write the position description and I expect it will be posted in the early fall,” Todd said. In addition, Todd and Ricksen are interviewing search firms to aid in looking nationally for the right candidate. Ricksen also commented that the “process is on schedule and all systems are go.”
The new KCAD president will replace Oliver Evans, who has served as interim president since former president David Rosen’s sudden and yet-to-be-explained resignation last April. Evans served as KCAD’s president for 18 years prior to the hiring of Rosen in 2012. Under Evans’ administration, KCAD saw huge growth in enrollment, increased program offerings and a merge with Ferris during its 2000-2001 academic year.
KCAD continued to expand during Rosen’s term in office. Notable initiatives under Rosen’s year and 10 month presidency include the creation of various masters programs as well as further integration of KCAD into the Grand Rapids and greater Michigan art community.
Rosen’s tenure may have been short-lived, but KCAD’s student body showed him large support during his departure. Jenelle Grenier, a junior majoring in Illustration at KCAD, feels that Rosen’s leadership provided great opportunity for students.
“KCAD lost a president who tried his hardest to make the school a good learning environment for students,” Grenier said.
Rosen’s abrupt departure raised many questions about Ferris’ high level of involvement with KCAD. Rumors circulated that Rosen felt too much constraint from the Ferris administration, and some going as far as questioning the necessity of a KCAD president at all under Eisler’s surrounding leadership. Despite speculation, Rosen stated in an email to faculty and students that his resignation was voluntary and that he was “fully satisfied with the terms and conditions of [his] departure.”
Marc Sheehan, KCAD’s Communications Officer under president Eisler, only commented that the University accepted the resignation with regret. Under University policy, other details of employee resignations are kept private.
KCAD students and staff felt a shift in momentum following the change in faculty. Shortly after news of Rosen’s resignation broke, MLive reported that KCAD faculty issued a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the newly reappointed president Evans. In its press release, KCAD’s senate and association expressed to Ferris that they “do not want to take the same path as was followed during the 18 years of leadership under Dr. Evans.”
Amidst these irregular circumstances, Ricksen and Todd continue the hiring process with a sense of duty. “It is an important task and I am excited and honored to be a part it,” Todd said. “Choosing the next president determines the future of the college. I know the committee will take its charge seriously and I have great hopes for things to come.”