Milton Glick is the new president of the University of Nevada, Reno. He comes to the university by way of Arizona State University, where he was, among other things, executive vice president and provost. He’s a pleasant 69-year-old with a gravelly, deep voice and a precise manner. He also wears cool hats.
What’s the most serious problem facing the university?
I like to think of the opportunities rather than the problems. I think we need to decide just what are three or four issues that, if we make strategic decisions, we can achieve [and] take a good university to greatness. One of them is how big do we want to be. One of them is what kind of student body do we want to have. One of them is how do we improve student success here. Another one is how can we compete in the highly competitive [areas] of a research university. It’s not competing against UNLV; it’s competing against Michigan, ASU, against Illinois, and against the 500 research universities that are going to be built in China.
How big do you think we should be?
Without giving a number, we should be bigger than we are. One, on the research agenda, it’s hard to compete when we’re as small as we are. Just sheer numbers. Two, we don’t produce enough baccalaureate-trained students in Nevada to ensure Nevada’s future prosperity; therefore, we need to train more students. Three is the political reality of growth versus non-growth. Four is the fact that growing gives you the opportunity to create things that you cannot do at stasis. The answer is, I think we need to grow, I do not know how much we need to grow.
Is part of improving the student body raising entrance requirements?
We probably need to raise requirements, at least people here tell me we do, and we’ve already done it. But that doesn’t help you get the best students. I’m worried about how we can get the really bright students who inject intellectual energy into the entire university. And they challenge the faculty, and that makes the faculty better.
What do you plan to do to address the parking problems?
[Chuckles] I don’t know how serious they are yet. I don’t have a plan to address them right now, is the real answer. It’s not been on my top five list.
I think the sores have begun to scab over since President Lilley left, but there were some serious rifts among faculty. Do you have plans for healing those?
My plan is to do what I think is the right thing. And as soon as we do the right thing, people will feel good about it. And not to tell them to feel good, but simply to treat people right. I’m not going to decide who was right and who was wrong. I’m only going to look forward. I don’t know how serious the past was. I don’t think it would be too productive for me to worry about it. As I said to a group this morning—the first thing I’m going to do about morale is not talk about it.
Do you welcome dissent?
Yes. I mean, we would all prefer applause and approbation, but … I do think the faculty as a community is smarter than I am. It would be really sad if the 750-member faculty didn’t know more than I know. I expect to have open dialogue on issues.
Have you ever considered splitting public relations from the journalism school and moving it into the business school?
I have not considered that here. I have had those discussions in my past, as to where those things best reside, and should a journalism program be only journalism, or is it strengthened by having public relations and advertising since many journalism students end up, once they graduate, doing those things. I did not do it in my past life, but I haven’t given it serious consideration [here]. But am I aware that that is something we could do? Yes.