Written by Jordan Barela, Editor-in-Chief
On July 1, 2015, the state of the administrative staff at VSU changed. Then acting President, Dr. William McKinney, served his last day having submitted his resignation a few months prior.
With the president’s seat vacant, Dr. Staton was appointed by Chancellor Hank M. Huckaby to serve as the Interim President of VSU.
Staton did not waste any time once his term as Interim President began; in fact, he hit the ground running. Staton revamped numerous higher level administrative positions, including appointing Dr. Brian Gerber as Interim Provost in lieu of Dr. Hudson Rogers’ decision to step down to teach at the Harley Langdale Jr. College of Business.
“I didn’t come here thinking that this is something that’s broken that I have to fix. It’s not. This is a wonderful place, but we are living in a challenging time for higher education. So, we just all have to come together to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to make it the best it can be,” Staton said. “Part of that is getting good people in the right positions. We did have a number of vacancies to fill. We still have a number of interim positions that we will be following through on trying to fill some of those this year, but it’s really about preparing this institution for the future and how we deal with the difficult waters facing higher education right now.”
With the hiring of new administrative staff positions, Staton has a clear goal in mind.
“We come together to do it because we love this institution, we believe in its mission, we believe in its purpose, and most of all we believe in the mission of why we are really here and that is to help students. A University only exists for students,” Staton said. “That’s going to be our emphasis and it’s going to be the emphasis of every person that comes to a new staff position.”
Other important goals that Staton is looking to address are the retention rate at VSU and keeping the students at the core of his resolve.
“I think globally for our campus I want to emphasize student achievement [and] what we can do to make this the very best possible experience for our students, so that when they come here, they’ll want to stay here and finish here and we help them to be able to finish and succeed and achieve their goals,” Staton said.
VSU is in a state of major change. With the issues of budget cuts, enrollment rates and retention being brought to the forefront, Staton has a tough job to tackle. However, with a strong resolve and demeanor, Staton is ready to take on the job.
“For this year I am the President, even though I am [just] interim. I have the responsibilities of the office and I’m not really here to just sit in a pretty office and come out occasionally and say “hi”. We’ve got work to do. These are challenging times for higher education. There are a lot of things going on that are impacting all of our institutions in the University System,” Staton said.