OSKALOOSA — William Penn University, after 10 months of experimenting and testing new leadership strategies, has taken an important step in implementing a new strategy for team leadership.
At its Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, the Board endorsed the work of the University’s Cabinet by establishing the model for the future governance of the University. The Cabinet’s choice of Executive Vice President John Ottosson as its leader was also confirmed as the Interim President. The Cabinet and the Board will make a final decision no later than December 2014 to confirm Ottosson as the next President of the University or to conduct a search for a new President.
Last May, the Board asked the Cabinet to take on the operational leadership of the University for an interim period in order to examine ways in which the operation of the University could and should be altered to adapt to the new challenges of higher education. The Cabinet selected Ottosson from within the group to lead the project. Greg Harris, a Board member and a 1972 William Penn graduate, volunteered to be the liaison to the Board during this process.
In a news release to the campus, the William Penn Cabinet stated, “Ottosson is a 1984 graduate of William Penn and over the last 24 years has worked long hours and many weekends to promote and help develop William Penn University. Everyone who knows John has witnessed his passion for Penn’s students and the make-a-difference mission of the University. All who know John admire his efforts to extend the University’s reach and reputation. For these and many other reasons, the Cabinet fully supports John in his new role as Interim President. The Cabinet is confident John has the skills and abilities to lead Penn through the challenges that lie ahead.”
Both Board Chairman Jerry Ellis and John Ottosson maintain that some further evaluations should be made to better understand the new directions the University is currently developing. In large part due to the Internet, the world of higher education is changing, and changes at William Penn must occur, but those changes need to be carefully evaluated as they are planned and implemented. Key issues will be: 1.Maintaining academic excellence; 2. Continuing the highly valuable diverse culture on the campus; and 3. Preserving its historic roots.
In January 2014, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees recommended to move the University forward by making the Cabinet’s role a permanent management strategy. The Cabinet recommended that John Ottosson be named William Penn University Interim President to support the effective continuation of their progress.
The William Penn University Board of Trustees and Cabinet are pleased to take this valuable step. They look forward to the journey ahead as they explore the opportunities and challenges of delivering higher education services in the 21st Century.