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Editorial: Wood should be considered for Minnesota West post

It was interesting, to say the least, to learn a few days ago that former Minnesota West Community and Technical College president Ron Wood would not be considered for the interim president post at the school.

After all, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Chancellor Steven Rosenstone — during a tour of all of Minnesota West’s campuses late last month — had stated MnSCU’s Board of Trustees would consider both external and internal candidates for the job. Wood, widely recognized as important to growth at Minnesota West both during and after his tenure as president, was subsequently nominated for the interim president position.

Wood, though, is no longer in the running, “The decision was made to only consider internal candidates after visiting all the campuses and based on what was said at the visits, it would be best to choose from MnSCU employees,” said Doug Anderson, director of communications and media for MnSCU. “This decision is also consistent with similar interim president searches that the chancellor has done in the past.”

Anderson’s comments beg to question as to what, then, made the chancellor open up the interim president job to all candidates originally. And, for that matter, what kind of feedback prompted Rosenstone to ultimately change his mind?

Regardless of Wood’s potential candidacy for the position, it seems as if MnSCU’s chancellor should have had a final decision in place as to who to consider before submission of nominations began. That being said, it’s difficult for us to imagine a stronger candidate than Wood. After serving as Minnesota West president for 10 years, he has remained a member of the Worthington City Council as well as an interim president at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. Wood has shown a consistent commitment to bettering his community.

Perhaps Wood’s exclusion from interim president consideration is a result of a desire for a fresh leader at the school, and not someone from the past. One might argue, though, that selection of such a figure would be wise as the college transitions from current president Richard Shrubb to its next permanent leader.

Wood would only say Thursday that he was disappointed in the chancellor’s decision. We share his point of view.