Williams Sticking to His Principles

In April, Principal Tom Williams told the Journal he’s not interested in being considered for reappointment. After seven weeks on the job, he hasn’t changed his mind.

“Queen’s needs somebody who will give a minimum of five to seven years for the job, and at my age, that’s not in the cards,” said Williams, who’s been working at Queen’s since 1977.

He said it was his affection for the University and the prospect of a challenge that encouraged him to take the short-term position.

“It was the opportunity to work in a culture that I love—namely one that’s collegial and transparent,” he said over the phone.

In keeping with University policy, Williams won’t be involved in the search for his successor.

“That’s for people who have an eye on the future,” he said. “I need to do my job for the present.”

But he said he could come up with a long list of attributes the committee should be seeking in its candidates. In short, he thinks the role should go to someone who has values that are “compatible with the Queen’s culture” and who’s able to work with stakeholder groups including employee groups, students and community—in an open fashion.

Williams said hiring an executive search firm will save the search committee a lot of work because such firms have databanks that compile years’ worth of information.

“I know that things take time, but clearly I don’t want this one to drag out,” he said. “I don’t think that’s good for the institution.”

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