On Monday, November 11, the Board of Trustees elected James P. Clements to be Clemson University’s 15th president.
The Faculty Senate is cautiously optimistic about Clemson’s new president. At the November 12 Faculty Senate meeting, Faculty Senate president Kelly Smith stated that initial impressions from faculty are optimistic. Clements is an academic. His presidential biography on West Virginia University’s website demonstrates that fact, noting that “before coming to WVU, Dr. Clements served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Towson University, the second-largest public university in Maryland. Prior to becoming provost, he served as Towson University’s vice president for economic and community outreach, and as the Robert W. Deutsch Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences. Dr. Clements earned a B.S. in computer science and an M.S. and Ph.D. in operations analysis from the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), as well as an M.S. in computer science from Johns Hopkins University. The fourth edition of his project management textbook was published in four languages and used in multiple countries; the fifth edition was released in spring 2012. At WVU, Dr. Clements is a tenured professor in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.” Clements is not an “inside man”; he will represent the needs of the faculty.
Smith contacted four members of the WVU Faculty Senate to gather information about Clements. The feedback he received from those faculty members was overwhelmingly positive. They asserted that Clements is a fantastic president who turned WVU and put them on the rights track by increasing fundraising, improving the physical assets of WVU, and promoting research.In response to news of Clements move to Clemson, WVU board chairman James W. Dailey II stated “Since the hiring of Jim Clements in 2009, West Virginia University has experienced unprecedented success in many areas private giving, enrollment, academics, research funding, health care, community service, economic development and so much more. Of course, he will say it is because he has had a great team, but it’s more than that. Jim is a natural-born leader someone who understands the higher education climate.” Clements is an inclusive leader with a very strong following among faculty, staff, and students. Smith reported that Clements has an amazing ability to make everyone he talks to feels like he is 100% focused on them and really cares about their input, and he actually acts on that input in concrete ways. Clement is a successful fundraiser. Faculty remarked that he has never lost his temper or spoken harshly. He is an energetic, enthusiastic, dynamic leader, but he’s also thoughtful and not given to acting on impulse. WVU faculty noted that he considers himself to be one of the faculty. Clements has been extremely successful hiring people in upper administrative capacities. The only negative comment faculty from WVU concerns his response to a legislative take over of the WVU system. Clements was politically cautious. However, he worked quietly behind the scenes to mitigate the damage. Clements also met with Jeremy King, past Faculty Senate President, and Fran McGuire, Faculty Manual Editorial Consultant. Both remarked that Clements seemed to be a compassionate individual who would be an advocate for the faculty.
The biggest test of Clements’s commitment to faculty will likely come during the search for the next provost. While the president is the chief executive of the university, the provost is in charge of the academic enterprise. The provost has more direct impact on faculty than any other administrator, so it is essential that faculty be allowed substantial representation in the hiring process. Clements’s record gives members of the Clemson community reasons to be optimistic. Hopefully, Clements, like his predecessor, will a supporter of faculty and a successful administrator.
Currently, the Faculty Senate is working on a list of recommendations to make to the new president. Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your recommendations.