The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Viewpoint: New president starts off strong

By The Mesquite Editorial Board

This week, interim president Cynthia Teniente-Matson held two meet and greet events where students could grill her. So how did she do? Here is what we think.

Responsiveness:  After introducing herself, Matson immediately requested questions from the audience of staff, faculty and students. With no agenda, those in attendance could ask about whatever they wanted, from the future of the university to what kind of activities she enjoys in her free time. She quickly responded openly to every question. For questions she did not have an answer for, she said she would research and find one.

Listening Skills:  With no moderator at the meet and greet, Matson was on her own to field questions and comments from everyone in attendance. Questions ranged from tongue-and-cheek to important questions about the future of the university. She consistently paid attention to the person speaking, repeating the question or comment, and responding with a well-reasoned answer. Her focus was solely on the people in front of her. She listened to every word.

Balance:  Matson effectively responded to questions. She also quickly posed questions to the audience. For example on the topic of food service quality, the audience wasn’t as quick to respond as she was to the questions given to her. Nevertheless, her style showed she wanted as much interaction as possible. She wanted to hear the important questions along with the personal ones. It is apparent she intends to hear from as many people as possible in person or via her Twitter account.

Respecting students’ time:  Both meet and greet events lasted only an hour. Matson made the best of her 60 minutes. Despite a brief delay at the start, she kept the dialogue moving and ended on time.

For her first time engaging with students here, interim president Cynthia Teniente-Matson effectively interacted with everyone. She lived up to her commitment to create an open dialogue with students by proposing the session to the Student Government Association herself.

We at The Mesquite hope Matson continues communicating this way with A&M-San Antonio students, faculty and staff as she begins to tackle current issues and the big plans for the university’s future.

If she had a strategy going into the forum, it worked.

How do you think she’s doing so far? Let us know in the comments.

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