LARAMIE, Wyoming — Reaction to the announcement that University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity plans to step down next year includes surprise and praise from UW faculty and staff.
Last week, McGinity told the UW Board of Trustees to put plans in motion for a new presidential search.
McGinity, who enjoyed a rapid ascendance to the presidency following the departure of embattled then-President Bob Sternberg, plans to step down when his contract expires June 30, 2016.
"I was actually kind of surprised," said Ed Janak, chair of the UW Faculty Senate. "I wasn't completely shocked, but I was surprised it was initiated by President McGinity."
Chris Boswell, UW's vice president for governmental and community affairs, said he knew about McGinity's plans for some time, but understands his decision making.
"It's very understandable," Boswell said. "He stepped in at an incredible time during the university's history. I think it was a big step for him to become vice president for academic affairs out of the faculty and then to be asked to become president is something that's enormously consuming whether in terms of time, effort or emotion."
And for both Janak and Boswell, McGinity's ability to immediately connect with interested parties across the state is a quality that will surely be missed.
"He recognized the value of connecting with the state," Boswell told the Laramie Boomerang (http://bit.ly/1ImBFsH). "He did that with his vigorous interaction with the community colleges, which continues to this day, both in terms of his personal interactions with the presidents of the colleges, but also the articulation agreements with the university's dedication to working hand in hand with the colleges."
Sara Axelson, UW's vice president of student affairs, said she will miss McGinity's ability to meet her office's needs.
"He's been wonderful to work with," Axelson said. "Whenever I need to reach out to him, he returns my call or is available to go meet with. The interactions have just been great."
And for students, Axelson said, McGinity has been just as accessible.
"I've just really enjoyed watching him work with students," she said. "I think he's really tuned into the student population and he really wants the best for them in their lives."
When it comes to the new presidential search, Janak said the trustees must acknowledge UW systems of shared governance already in place.
"We have these systems in place for a reason," Janak said. "Just because we haven't followed them the last couple of years doesn't mean they shouldn't be followed. The second thing is staff have been neglected to the point of abuse, so I would tell (the new president) they really need to make a concerted effort in the area of staff."
Information from: Laramie Boomerang, http://www.laramieboomerang.com