Our congratulations to Dr. Kayse Shrum, approved by the OSU A&M Board of Regents as the next president of Oklahoma State University.
It is indeed a historic decision, as Shrum will be the first woman in the position, but few candidates could likely match the kind of professional credentials Shrum has developed in an already acclaimed career.
Shrum is currently the president of OSU’s Center for Health Sciences. She has also been a member of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet, where she is credited with expanding COVID-19 testing across the state. She is a literal medical doctor.
So, while it is inspiring and refreshing for a woman to finally be at the highest position of this institution, we would like to think her achievements also make her the most qualified.
They could, but we don’t know exactly who all of the finalists were. Neither the search committee nor regents made public the names of the candidates.
Now, they say this is probably to prevent issues with the current employers, but is it really ever that big of a deal? We know about it when coaches are flirting with other schools, we know when people are considering running for office or even when people in the private sector are considering switching jobs.
We think it’s a lost opportunity. For one thing, you know who is really good at helping vet candidates? News organizations.
Remember that story about the Pittsburgh, Kansas, high school student newspaper kids who found out a new hire at principal had faked her academic credentials?
“There really was no information being provided on this new administrator coming in,” then-junior Gina Mathew told CNBC, “so we felt it was our duty to make sure that the community was informed.”
We really are happy for Dr. Shrum and the university community but just like how the bygone era of only men in charge is going away, so too should the needlessly private hiring practices of a public university.