The search for the next president at Midwestern State University continued on Tuesday with a candidate forum. There are only three candidates left.
Dr. Robert Nelsen is the third and final candidate. Currently, he is the Special Advisor to Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for The University of Texas System. However, Dr. Nelsen was the President at The University of Texas Pan American between January 2010 and August 2014. So, he knows it takes a lot of work.
"This University is dedicated to students," he said, "That's why I want to come."
However, there is another perk to coming to MSU.
"Well, I grew up as a mustang so I'd come back and be a mustang again. I like that quite a bit," Dr. Nelsen said.
He explained Midwestern State has a good foundation, but there are cracks that need to be filled.
"We have a great strategic plan, but we don't have any priorities for that strategic plan," he said, "We've got to get priorities."
Dr. Nelsen has three priorities in mind. The first is making MSU a destination University. He said the school needs to do a better job at letting the public know what they have to offer.
"Number two is retention," he said, "Making sure that we do not lose students. That the students that are here stay here and want to be here."
The last priority is enrollment. He said the school needs to increase incoming freshman and transfer students.
Dr. Nelsen said, "We need to grow here and we need to serve more students in this state and Oklahoma and throughout the state."
He explained part of that is done by fundraising.
"You don't raise money by just going and asking," Dr. Nelsen said, "So, you've got to build friendships and make sure you cultivate those friendships."
He said getting to know the community and building relationships is the first thing he plans to do.
"A president that often say is supposed to be an agent of change," Dr. Nelsen said, "No. A president is supposed to be an agent of trust."
He said he likes the fact that MSU is a liberal arts school.
"Liberal arts gives you that preparation. It helps you with skills so that way you have the skills you need to be able to perform in all certain types of different jobs," he said.
Dr. Nelsen said it gives students what they need to not only get their first job, but also their last.
To take a closer look at the first candidate, Dr. Suzanne Shipley,
To take a closer look at the second candidate, Dr. Andrew Rogerson,