Amiri Al-Hadid, a former Africana studies professor at Tennessee State University, returned to campus on Monday to weigh in on the search for a new university president.
“You can’t lead where you haven’t been and you can’t teach what you don’t know,” Al-Hadid said, reinforcing that he’d like a president with experience at historically black colleges and universities.
Al-Hadid and other members of the TSU community gathered at Poag Auditorium for a public meeting with Betty Asher from search firm Greenwood/Asher & Associates. Asher asked audience members questions about TSU — and the qualities they are looking for in a new president.
The Tennessee Board of Regents plans to replace interim president Portia Shields at the end of this year. The suggested characteristics of a new president included:
• focus on enhancing research opportunities
• thick skin
• a keen understanding of the importance of marketing to prospective students and faculty
• a younger, dynamic leader
• focus on using technology to interact with students
• making an effort to follow TSU’s strategic plan in regards to growth.
Sen. Thelma Harper and newly elected Rep. Harold Love Jr. attended the meeting.
The 23-member presidential search committee  met for the first time Monday afternoon. The search firm hopes to narrow the field of presidential candidates by October and have a new president in place by January 2013.