Vice President of Academic Affairs search begins with David Billeaux

Kelsie O'Connell

The search for the new vice president of academic affairs is in full swing.  The first week for candidate campus visits was Sept. 21. For the next few weeks, committee members will interview four candidates for the VPAA position at Washburn.

David Billeaux, a candidate from a Texas A&M–Corpus Christi, was asked to discuss the topic of opportunities and challenges of education in the 21st century and how Washburn might deal with those challenges.

“Some of our problems and opportunities stem from things that have been developing in the late 20th century,” said Billeaux. “We’ve been responding to it and certainly Washburn’s been responding to it.”

Billeaux expressed his belief in working on and fostering the types of skills students will need to succeed in large organizations. He also discussed that a solid teacher-to-student foundational relationship is needed for students to succeed in addition to changing tools over time.

“I would more aggressively create a student mentor system as well,” said Billeaux.

The college experience has become a more than just studying or homework. Most students who attend college have a part-time job.

“Nearly half the students are working an excess of 30 hours of week as well as carrying this heavy load,” said Billeaux. “We actually looked into it. In that sense, it’s amazing they are doing as well as they are doing, it seems to me. It’s a tremendous effort.”

Over the last thirty to forty years, Billeaux has noticed a tremendous increase in the desire to learn. Describing students as “sponges” that soak up knowledge, Billeaux discussed reasons students go to college. These range from students knowing what they want to do to the simple answer of “I don’t know.”

“From the point of the [college] student, they have in one way, shape, or form of another some sense that [being in college] is going to get me a better job or get me the job I want,” said Billeaux.

Billeaux discussed in further detail the future of college education and its importance in the lives of future students. He also spoke to the crowd of his involvement on campus if chosen to be the new VPAA.

“I schedule time two to three hours a week that [I use for] my walking around time,” said Billeaux.

Billeaux also gave his compliments to the Washburn faculty.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here. [Students] are working with very dedicated faculty that are very nice folks. These people are people you can feel absolutely comfortable with,” said Billeaux.

Friday, students and faculty are invited to listen to the presentations of the upcoming candidates for the VPAA. A presentation also took place yesterday.

For more information on Billeaux and the upcoming candidates, students and faculty can use MyWashburn.