Presidential search will include student input


Ryan Gilroy | The DePaulia

President A. Gabriel Esteban at the 2019 State of the University address.

President A. Gabriel Esteban is stepping down in nine months, and the hunt is on to find his replacement.

The university announced a presidential search team of faculty, trustees and students members via Newsline. The team will work to find and review applicants to take Esteban’s place when he steps down on June 30, 2022.

DePaul trustee Judy Greffin will chair the committee. Notable members include Chair of the Board of Trustee Gerald Beeson, Faculty Council President Sonia Soltero and Student Government Association President Watfae Zayed.

Soltero said in an email to The DePaulia that not much could be discussed due to the confidentiality of the search.

“Considering students make up a large majority of the DePaul community, it is super important to have student representation in the presidential search,” Zayed said in an email to The DePaulia. “Actually, students should be the most represented group in the search, even though that’s unfortunately not the case with this one. Without students, there’s no university and our input should be considered when making such a big decision.”

The committee, in partnership with recruiting firm Isaacson Miller, will hold specific listening sessions for students, faculty and staff. The DePaulia will not be able to report on faculty sessions, only student sessions.

“To promote a listening session where faculty [and] staff can speak more freely, student media may only attend the student sessions,” said media spokesperson Kristin Mathews.

Students can also complete an online survey to participate in the listening sessions if they can’t attend a live listening session.

“Students should definitely go to these listening sessions,” Zayed said. “Since there isn’t much student representation on the search committee, this is our opportunity to show the university administration what concerns students have and what we’re looking for in the next president of the university. It’s super important that we’re there to give out input.”

According to Greffin in a letter sent to the DePaul community, the listening sessions aim to gather input from DePaul about the future of the university and ways to assess the success of the next president.

The sessions will ask: “What are the key issues, challenges and opportunities facing the president?” and “What does the president need to know about DePaul University to be successful?”

After the listening sessions, the recruiting firm will put together input from the listening sessions, information about the university and a summary of the job role and qualifications and send it off to potential new presidents.

For the last step of the search, finalists will be reviewed by a separate vetting committee made up of Faculty Council, Staff Council and SGA.