John "Doc" Gwaltney
John "Doc" Gwaltney
Board of Regents District 11
How would you describe yourself to voters?
I am deeply committed to the education of our future generations. Thirty-five years in the State of Nevada working in the higher education community has given me an understanding of the difficulties of moving a very large bureaucratic system. Yet massive changes have taken place in our state in those 35 years and higher education has not yet assimilated those changes sufficiently to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
What do you see as the top issues in this campaign?
I see a need for openness and honesty concerning the management of higher education in Nevada. The termination of a Chancellor recently with a $610,000 price tag accentuates the absence of civility and accountability. Nevada needs a higher education system that reflects the commitment to all segments of our society.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the state’s colleges and universities?
Adequate funding is always a challenge with Nevada's higher education. However, this must be accompanied with a distribution mechanism allotting the resources in accordance with the needs of the state. The Governor's quest to get higher education to do a better job in job readiness is an illustration of current frustration with the system. The system must support the goals of first time college/minority populations/students.
In late 2021, former Chancellor Melody Rose filed a hostile workplace complaint alleging sexual discrimination and that some regents were undermining her. An investigation could not substantiate the sexual harassment, but it did note possible ethics violations. It also noted factionalism and tensions among board members. How would you, as a Regent, work to ease tensions on the board?
Often when dealing with gigantic issues, individuals forget that compromise must be established. If elected to the Board, I will work diligently to find common ground such that we can work as a team. My years of experience as a college president has enabled me to bring differing factions together.
What should the board look for in a new Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor?
It immediately comes to mind that honesty, openness and the willingness to lead are primary qualifications. Additional qualifications would include an understanding of budgeting, a willingness to accept legal limitations, and the ability to interact with a multitude of different groups, of which faculty is the most significant. The new Chancellor should understand that he or she is not the boss but the consensus builder.