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The decision by Salem State trustees to choose a white male former state representative as the new president of the university has disappointed some faculty and ignited a simmering debate about the lack of gender and racial diversity in the top ranks of public higher education.
To critics, the selection of John D. Keenan fit a troubling pattern of trustees at Massachusetts public colleges and universities turning to well-known local politicians to serve as presidents, rather than outside candidates with more experience in education.
Pick - Significance - Keenan - Selection - State
The pick has also taken on larger significance because Keenan, if his selection is approved by the state Board of Higher Education next month, will replace Patricia Meservey, who was the only female president of the state’s nine public universities.
Overall, eight women currently serve as presidents of the 29 public higher education institutions in Massachusetts, and just seven of the presidents are people of color, according to the Eos Foundation, a nonprofit that is seeking to diversify the leadership ranks.
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Faculty - Survey - Percent - Salem - State
A faculty survey showed 71 percent of Salem State’s professors and librarians hoped the board would pick Anny Morrobel-Sosa, a chemist born in the Dominican Republic who has experience as a researcher, professor, and college administrator.
John D. Keenan, now the university’s general counsel and vice president of administration, will succeed retiring President Patricia Maguire Meservey.
Provost - Vice - President - Affairs - Lehman
She served from 2012 to 2016 as provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Lehman College, which is part of the City University of New York, and worked for five years before that as dean of the college of science at the University of Texas El Paso.
Keenan is a lifelong Salem resident and former city solicitor who served as a Democratic state representative from 2005 to 2014,...
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