University Welcomes New President, Werner

Category:  News
Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 at 7:45 PM
University Welcomes New President, Werner by Tracy Geibel

A new semester means a new president for Edinboro University.

Dr. David J. Werner began what he expects to be a short tenure as interim president on Jan. 19, the beginning of the spring 2016 semester.

After former Edinboro University president, Dr. Julie Wollman announced in early November 2015 her plans to resign, in December, the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education selected Werner to lead the university until a permanent president was found.

Prior to coming to Edinboro, Werner served as the interim president at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) for about a two year period and Mansfield University for a shorter time.

“[Since] I’ve been interim president at two other institutions in the PASSHE system… I know the system pretty well,” Werner said. “In a sense, coming here for me was easier for me than it would have been for many people because of that experience.”

Both interim presidencies followed his retirement, but previously, he worked as a chancellor, provost, and professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Werner considers it his job to continue moving Edinboro forward towards progress.

In a welcome email to students and faculty, he compared the role of the interim president to that of a sea captain. He must “keep the ship on course.”

“The role of an interim president is to keep things moving forward, fix things that clearly need to be fixed, and prepare the way for a permanent president,” Werner said.

He considers one of the biggest challenges to be enrollment, but says it’s a problem not limited to Edinboro University.

“[It] is true for almost all the schools in the state system,” he said. “There are just fewer high school graduates than there were 15 years ago today.”

“And that’s not something you fix immediately, but that’s going to be a real high priority.”

He knows that in the presidential search process the university must find someone who is fitting for the campus, but the candidate must also consider the university an attractive option.

“Attracting a president to a university is a two-way street,” Werner said. “It’s really important that the university be in good order so you can say to perspective candidates that this is a good place to come.”

In order to make his transition easier, Werner visited in mid-December, spending several days on campus and meeting with Wollman and others.

“We [Wollman and I] have had numerous phone conversations, and she’s been very generous saying that she’s available when I need to call her,” he said.

He feels like it has been a successful transition, and hopes that the transition to a permanent president will be similar.

“I’m confident that working together we can set the stage for the arrival of a new president who will lead Edinboro University in its next stage of development,” Werner said in an email.

More so, he is looking forward to meeting the students and faculty on campus and to living in an area that receives so much snow as it will be an interesting experience for him.

“So far, it’s been really great. I’ve met lots of people, and it’s a really welcoming environment,” Werner said. “I’m certain I am going to enjoy my time here.”

Tracy Geibel is the executive editor for The Spectator and she can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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