The Search Continues…
The first of three finalists for Dr. Saigo’s replacement visited SOU last week, to meet with students, faculty and staff. When appealing the campus community on why he is the best candidate for SOU’s new president, Dr. Michael V. Tidwell, laid out his ambitious plans for diversifying SOU’s revenue sources, increasing the university’s connections to alumni, strengthening its brand image, and student success.
“We only have students for 4 to 5 years, but we have them as alumni for 40 to 50 years,” said Dr. Tidwell current Dean of the College of Business at Eastern Michigan University, to a gathering of campus members, “If we can get this right so they can get into their chosen careers early, they are going to feel great about SOU. And guess what happens when somebody feels great about Sou? Money flows for faculty chairs or faculty scholarships for students. When we do successful career placement our branding becomes all the more easier.”
Dr. Tidwell explained that one of his priorities would be to increase SOU’s brand image through increased marketing. “The better the brand the better resources we have at the institution,” said Dr. Tidwell, “A cycle of success will perpetuate itself, if we have better resources than we have better career development. We have better career development, then we have stronger career placement. The stronger your career placement then the stronger your brand… this works because people support success.” Claiming that since SOU does not have the same brand awareness as other larger Universities, such as Harvard or Yale, an increased marketing department will do wonders for the university’s success. Dr. Tidwell states that creating a strong marketing plan will help fix some of the universities problems with funding, student retention, and recruitment.
“To ensure the financial stability of the institution, the first thing we can do is make sure that faculty are entrepreneuring,” said Dr. Tidwell. One of Dr. Tidwell’s more ambitious plans revolves around diversifying income sources of revenue for funding the programs of faculty and staff at SOU. Dr. Tidwell explains that by funding SOU faculty’s projects and classes, the university can promote an environment of creativity and innovation. One way he plans to do this is by funding these projects with revenue from organizations outside of the university. By reaching out to alumni and organizations that provide grants for educational programs, the university can diversify the way it funds different projects.
“Student success is something that students achieve at whatever their goals are,” said Dr. Tidwell when asked how he would define student success, “It’s up to the students. It is up to the faculty and staff and the administration to help create an environment so students can achieve their goals.” SOU still has two candidates left to interview, who will visit campus June 1-3, with official times and locations to be determined. If the remaining 2 candidates are as ambitious and thoughtful as Dr. Tidwell, then it looks like the Presidential Search Committee has set up SOU for a successful future.
Dr. Michael V. Tidwell is currently the Dean of the College of Business at Eastern Michigan University. He received his undergraduate at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana (where he was on the volleyball team, before attending graduate school in the Pacific Northwest at Washington State University. After a brief stint in the high tech industry, Tidwell returned to Washington to work on his PhD and has been in higher education ever since. Over his career, Dr. Tidwell has published in scholarly journals including the International Journal of Management Theory and Practices, the Journal of Business Communication, and the journal of Nonprofit Management and Leadership.