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University of Akron Changes Course and Makes Matthew Wilson Its Permanent President

University of Akron Board of Trustees meeting
University of Akron Board of Trustees meeting

Matthew Wilson is no longer “interim” president of the University of Akron.   

Matthew Wilson, after being named interim president in July
Credit Tim Rudell / WKSU
Matthew Wilson, after being named interim president in July

Just three months after selecting him “interim” leader of the university the University of Akron Board of Trustees voted in special session to drop the interim pat of the title for Mathew Wilson.

His original appointment as interim was for eighteen months, Wilson said stabilizing the university is a priority.

“Even back as early as July, it was my position that I will serve however you would like me to, but the earlier we move forward with interim positons -- whether its president, provost, deans, chairs and the like -- we really ought to look at making this place as stable as we can to go forward.”

Wilson will serve until the end of June in 2019. His salary remains $370,000 a year.

The board’s decision to end the interim status of Wilson drew some criticism from faculty, staff, and student groups for the way it was handled.

UA student Dani Jackson with other students attending trustees meeting
Credit TIM RUDELL / WKSU
UA student Dani Jackson with other students attending trustees meeting

Dani Jackson, a University of Akron junior and head of the local chapter of the Ohio Student Association, said while she and her group are generally pleased with how Wilson has handled his first three months on the job, it’s only been three months.

And they are alarmed by the trustees apparently deciding to change the plan for selecting a new president without getting broad input from UA state holders.

“The positive side of Matthew Wilson becoming our president: He has tried to engage students, and I think he has done a good job. On the downside, I think that this decision is extremely premature. Also, it would be foregoing a national search which is the common protocol. And that begs the question: Is there really shared governance here?”

The board did invite representatives of the American Association of University Professors, the Faculty Senate, and the University Council to present their views in meetings immediately prior to the special board session.

And the resolution the board passed to change the status of Wilson included the directive that the board will no later than one year before the end of his term invite comment from interest groups on whether to launch a search for candidates for a long-term presidential appointment.  

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