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Selection Criteria and Qualifications

Oklahoma State University and the OSU System (“OSU”) seek a President who can build on the transformational changes that have occurred over the past decade to propel OSU to the next level of excellence in undergraduate, graduate, and professional education; research; and public service. OSU aspires to recruit an individual with an outstanding combination of qualifications, experience, and skills for this exceptional opportunity.


It is preferred that the next OSU President have an earned doctorate or other terminal degree, along with a history of successful executive-level administrative experience in academia. However, exceptional candidates from non-academic backgrounds who have a record of intellectual achievement, along with successful experience in executive administration of complex organizations (in business, industry, government, or the nonprofit sector) will also be considered.


The ideal candidate will also possess outstanding attributes in the following key areas: 


Leadership Skills

The next President of OSU must be able to:

  • Effectively lead and manage the institution through a process of delegation, team-building, collaboration, and empowerment;
  • Foster the development of leadership skills in the administrative team, students, faculty, and staff;
  • Promote academic excellence through continued strengthening of the institution’s faculty, academic units, and programs;
  • Recruit and retain outstanding students, faculty, and staff from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds;
  • Demonstrate and advance the institution’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • Facilitate the academic mission of the institution by engaging in shared governance with students, faculty, and staff; and by respecting academic freedom.

Executive Skills

The next President of OSU must be able to:

  • Set appropriate priorities and goals for the institution;
  • Coordinate closely with the administrative team to ensure unified and consistent messaging;
  • Develop a comprehensive strategy to facilitate coordination across the OSU system;
  • Engage in proactive forward planning to limit the need for reactive decision-making;
  • Assess critical issues and trends in higher education, and the evolving national and international role of a modern comprehensive land-grant university;
  • Position the institution to take advantage of technological advances and opportunities in an ever-changing world;
  • Promote fiscal responsibility, effective resource allocation, and sound budget management;
  • Act decisively, ethically, and empathetically when there is a need to rapidly address difficult issues or crises; and accept full responsibility for those decisions.

Advocacy Skills

The next President of OSU must be able to:

  • Demonstrate commitment to the central importance of serving students at the institution;
  • Project a positive image of the institution and promote its brand to the community, state, nation, and world;
  • Serve as an influential advocate for the institution with local, state, and federal officials by demonstrating the importance of higher education and the need for its public support;
  • Successfully and creatively lead capital campaigns to attract the resources that are necessary for the institution to continue to achieve excellence in its mission of teaching, research, and public service;
  • Facilitate the land grant mission of service, as exemplified by OSU Extension’s 77-county outreach and education program;
  • Collaborate with Oklahoma’s sovereign tribal nations for mutual benefit;
  • Establish productive working relationships with OSU alumni and other constituencies and stakeholders, including local business and community leaders; and maintain good town-gown relations. 

Communication & Interpersonal Skills

The next President of OSU must:

  • Have the superb interpersonal skills needed to serve as the public face of the institution and to form genuine connections with constituents at all levels;
  • Personify energy, a positive attitude, emotional strength, empathy, integrity, and enthusiasm for service;
  • Passionately communicate a vision of research, education, and service to inspire and motivate others;
  • Enthusiastically welcome opportunities to participate in the everyday social and cultural life of the institution, surrounding community, and state;
  • Ensure public trust in the institution through transparent communication and ethical behavior;
  • Respect and foster the institution’s long-standing ties across the state, nation, and world;
  • Promote safe, welcoming, and friendly campus environments for the Cowboy family of students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters, and friends.
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