Presidential candidate Rodney K. Rogers reveals experiences, thoughts in second open forum

By Kaylee Kean

The Oakland University community had the chance to meet presidential candidate Rodney K. Rogers at the second open forum on Wednesday, June 25 at 2 p.m.

The Gold Rooms were once again packed with interested parties as Rogers, currently senior vice president of academic affairs and provost at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), was introduced.

Before becoming provost in 2011, Rogers served as dean of the College of Business Administration and a professor since 2006, where he developed a strategic planning process and established several programs and centers for better academic and employment opportunities. He earned his doctoral in philosophy from Case Western Reserve University in 1996, master’s in business administration from BGSU in 1981 and bachelor’s in music in 1980 from Ohio Northern University.

Collaboration and strategy

During his introduction, Rogers said that making a difference in lives is what drives him into higher education.

“Higher ed is the foundation and has made a huge difference in our country,” Rogers said.

Now, he said, is the perfect time for schools like Oakland to redefine what it means to be in higher ed.

He listed what he considered to be Oakland’s four “key strengths”: it has an impressive array of academic programs, is at a great location, is the right size and is the right age.

When asked by an audience member what his decision-making was like as a dean and provost, Rogers said he relies heavily on his strategic planning and mission statement. Everything must be aligned and focused, he said, whether in undergraduate programs, graduate programs, research or other areas.

One participant asked what Rogers thought of strategic planning, mentioning Oakland’s recent movement and attempts at developing a strategic plan. In response, Rogers said that strategic planning is crucial, and must be inclusive both internally and externally for all stakeholders.

When asked about his leadership style, Rogers said he tries to be “collaborative and transparent”, and thinks it’s important to listen but to set clear timetables for goals and projects he is in charge of.

Beyond the classroom

At one point in the forum Student Body Vice President Liz Iwanski asked Rogers what he thought of campus engagement and how he would keep students, staff and faculty connected with each other.

Like Spaniolo, Rogers said he meets regularly on campus at BGSU with student leaders to hear their input. His university is a residential campus, however, and he said engagement on a commuter campus like Oakland would require focus, creativity and the right facilities.

Multiple students and faculty asked questions surrounding elementary education and Rogers’ approach to certain issues in K-12.

“We’re very dependent on the success of K-12 education,” Rogers said, saying that there are ways to use technology to improve the quality and reach of elementary education. This is an area where faculty research could come into play.

“I don’t think technology is everything… but we’ve got to be darn sure that oru students are getting what we say they’re getting.”

Rogers also said it is important for universities to ask how they can work with K-12 to better prepare students before college.

“I do believe once you have accepted a student into your university you’ve got to have the correct infrastructure to support them,” Rogers said.

Feedback

“I thought he was pretty engaging,” said Evan Dermidoff, athletics academic advisor at Oakland, who said he did not get to attend the last forum. “I liked how he was talking about technology and adaptability… I wish he would have talked a little bit more about undergraduate education, maybe more specifics.”

“Both candidates so far have said a lot of good things,” said an attendant who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s just impossible to know how it will all turn out when it comes down to it.”

View Rogers’ resume here.

Read more about candidate James D. Spaniolo here.

The Oakland Post will continue to update with information as it becomes available.