Making His Mark: William’s First 30 Days

by Jake Hawkins

Just over a month into his tenure as Transylvania University’s 25th president, Dr. Owen Williams has already begun leaving his mark.

Dr. Owen Williams assumed the presidency on Aug. 1, succeeding Dr. Charles Shearer, who served 27 years.

To start, Williams has announced an initiative to make Transy’s campus completely paperless by the end of the academic year.

To make that goal a reality, members of the Transy community are going to have to make changes to their habits.

Students have now been assigned printing accounts that will help them monitor exactly what they are printing. These accounts, according to Director of Information Technology Jason Whitaker, hope to serve the purpose of limiting printing.

While students have been given a limited amount of credits for printing this semester, students can get those credits reloaded without footing the bill.

“The first semester there is no charge. … If you run out of copies and need more you just need to ask for it and you will get it,” said Whitaker.

However, Williams added, “That’s going to change quickly. It’s going to become even more draconian with time. … If you make it painful for people to do the wrong thing, they’ll stop doing the wrong thing.”

Efforts are being made to lessen the need to print as well. Both Whitaker and Williams spoke of the goal to have monitors placed in strategic campus locations. These monitors would take the place of paper fliers, and groups would have access to uploading their individual advertisements.

Students should also notice a change from professors. Williams has urged professors to accept, comment on and return all papers digitally.
Sustainability Coordinator Angela Dossett also spoke of the goal to be paperless by the year’s end.

“I’m excited about it,” Dossett said. “I think there is a lot of work to do to figure out what that’s going to mean for Transy’s campus. I think it’s important to be thoughtful about deciding what that means and implementing the policy.”

Changes on Transy’s campus aren’t limited to going paperless, however. One of Williams’ first acts as president was making the position of IT director, currently held by Whitaker, a cabinet-level position.

“I wanted to send the message to the campus that we are going to be a technologically savvy community. It’s of vital importance to me,” said Williams.

“Technology is ridiculously important for students for academics, and I think it’s fabulous that the new president recognizes this,” Whitaker added.

Other personnel changes have come as well. Sarah Emmons and Mark Blankenship have both been promoted to associate vice presidents, and Deana Ison has assumed the position of executive assistant to the president.

In addition, President Williams is working to ensure changes in Transy’s recruitment efforts in the admissions office.

As part of this, the homepage to the external Transy Web site,, has received a makeover.

“The Web site should start with a front door … that invites you into a series of rooms, each of which give you a greater depth of understanding,” said Williams.
Williams spoke of a goal for 50 percent of Transy’s student body to be from out of state within seven years.

“We’re going to be hitting diversity pretty hard,” Williams said.

He identified race, culture and religion as other areas of interest.

Williams is interested in increasing the size of Transy’s enrollment, as well, while “(holding) on to the intimacy of the Transy family.”

Williams has also created the president’s advisory council. The council consists of faculty, staff and one student.

Senior Grant Buckles was chosen as the student representative. Buckles also served as the sole student representative to the presidential search committee created last year to find a replacement for Dr. Charles Shearer, president emeritus.


One Response to Making His Mark: William’s First 30 Days

  1. Pingback: Transy embraces digital age with new website designs « The Rambler

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