Golden again emphasizes the student experience during SGA address

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FILE PHOTO/MORGAN ANDERSON

President-elect Jay Golden speaks at a Student Government Association meeting in December.

University President-elect Jay Golden spoke in public forum at the Student Government Association meeting Wednesday.

Golden, who will officially take over on Dec. 17, focused on his goals as the next president of WSU during his address. 

“[It’s] about the student experience. Period,” Golden said. “I define the student experience as the following: we’re going to have a safe, inclusive, diverse campus. That includes leadership, that includes faculty, and that includes the student body.”

The Kansas Board of Regents named Golden the 14th president of WSU in October, capping a closed search process that began after late President John Bardo died this spring. A 20-person search committee, which included two students, was selected in May to find a pool of finalists for the next president. KBOR selected Golden from that pool. 

Golden is currently a vice chancellor at East Carolina University. 

“We’re not going to be a campus that’s judged on who we won’t allow into our campus … We’re going to be a university that’s judged by what we do with the students who have an opportunity at Wichita State.”

Golden said that he plans for the students to be involved in the University’s big decisions. 

“It’s the student experiences where the students are engaged. So when we have meetings … students are a part of the conversations,” Golden said.

Golden told The Sunflower that the majority of questions he had about Wichita State when he was researching wasn’t about the administration and budgets, but about the students and the overall Wichita State experience. 

“A lot of my questions were. . . ‘If you were thinking about the student experience, how would you change something?’” Golden said. 

“I’m really interested to see what people’s ideas are and I’m also really interested to see what. . . we can do better.”

Golden said his goal is to look approachable to students. He has already started working toward that goal as the president-elect.

“This morning [at] 7am you would’ve found me at Shocker Hall having breakfast, walking around saying hi to the students,” Golden said. “People can come up and talk. . . . . Something I focus on is [being] approachable. I’m fine with people just calling me ‘Jay’. I’m not hooked on titles or anything, I’m just happy to be around.” 

Golden told The Sunflower that his preparations for his new role as president began months before he applied.

“I spent probably close to a month doing background on Wichita State,” Golden said. “I had binders full of every kind of report and date about Wichita State. I probably came in knowing more than any of the people already working here.”

Golden said that his transition to this role has been made easy thanks to Interim President Andy Tompkins. 

“Tompkins is probably the best person you could ask for,” Golden said. “He’s been very much interested to know what my ideas are . . . and thinking through those processes. So that process has been very good.”

Golden was originally supposed to start in January, but his official start date was moved up. Golden said he is ready to take on his new position. 

“I think my enthusiasm for getting started has shown. . .  just because it’s just my nature,” he said. 

“I’m ready to go.”