Q&A with President Jim Borsig: his legacy, goals

Trisha Boone

Campus Reporter

Dr. Jim Borsig is the current president of Mississippi University for Women. He has been in office since November of 2011. As president, Borsig said he hopes to continue to enrich The W in academics, tradition and stability. Borsig is known for walking about the campus and consciously making himself available in whatever ways he can.  

Q: You were named Commissioner of Higher Education for the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning, yet you returned here to continue serving as president.  Why did you come back?

A: “It became clear to me that this is where I wanted to be. It’s that simple. It’s where I was called to be. I had worked at IHL for about seven years and knew that very well. When they talked to me about that job, I felt a sense of duty and that I could make a contribution there. It became clear to me that I wanted to be on a campus with students. This is the right place for me to be at this point in my career.” 

Q: What is your guiding philosophy for the direction of The W?

A: “This is the most exciting time of change in higher education in the United States, probably in our history. We know what our values are and what principles guide us. We are still true to the things that we were founded to do, which was to be a place of opportunity in learning for those who didn’t really have that opportunity before this university existed. Being able to take those things that matter so much to us – being student-centered, being a family, helping each other –and translate that into what it means in the 21st century.” 

Q: What are some of your goals here?

A: “I think that maintaining the enrollment, working with the faculty to make sure that the majors that we offer are the ones that our graduates can count on to be employed, to make sure that the student experience on the campus is the highest quality that it can be – because you don’t just learn in the classroom – [and] for us to be proficient with technology.”

Q: When assessing possible policy changes, what are some of your standard considerations?

A: “The university’s processes are very inclusive about policies. It requires the administrative counsel – that has about 40 people – and that’s where policy changes start and end. Once a policy is being considered to be put into place or to be changed, then it is circulated through the Faculty Senate, Student Government, President’s Cabinet, Directors Council… so it takes about two months and all of those groups have a chance to weigh in on the policy. Since I have been here, I have made a consistent use of task forces. I start by making sure that everyone who needs to be at the table is at the table.”

Q: Can you explain how you go about balancing The W’s rich history with current political issues or the newest ideas in collegiate management?

A: “We have always been one of those places where a student can walk into a faculty member’s office. We have small classes. We have that very personal connection to our students, and they to our faculty.” 

Q: How does a topic come across your desk? 

A: “I joke sometimes that I know all the really good news, and I know all the really bad news. I don’t know what’s in the middle, and I know there is a lot of that in the middle. I meet regularly with the Faculty Senate President, the Student Council President and Student Body President monthly. The Administrative Council is about 40 people. I try to do my best to communicate as rapidly as I can. I think the fact that I walk around campus. I’m available. That is the key.”