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Search for UI president begins

BY CARLY MATTHEW | JANUARY 21, 2015 5:00 AM

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After approving University of Iowa President Sally Mason’s retirement, the state Board of Regents discussed the process it will use to find a new president.

When asked how the next presidential search would differ from that of 2006, Regent President Bruce Rastetter noted that none of the current regents were on the board at that time.

Additionally, Rastetter said, the regents successfully found presidents for Iowa State University in 2012 and the University of Northern Iowa in 2013.

“I think if you talked to faculty and governance councils on both campuses, they would say that it was inclusive, it was open, it was transparent, and it brought the candidates to campus,” he said.

Rastetter also said the regents executed the more successful presidential searches by using “broad, inclusive committees.”

Until a new president is found, Mason said, she hopes to lay a good foundation for the next president by helping ensure he or she will arrive to a university that is “thriving and growing.”

In 2006, the regents conducted a controversial search for a new UI president that ended with the regents turning down all four finalists. UI student, faculty, and staff governments all voted no confidence in the regents, and they were forced to begin a second search.

In a December 2006 speech, the then-UI Faculty Senate President Sheldon Kurtz said the regents “stunned the state by disbanding the presidential search committee and terminating the search” and called the search “an ongoing process of secretive strategic planning that deliberately excluded students, staff, faculty, and administrators who know the [UI] best and who represent its future.”

The regents took more than one year to select president Sally Mason.

The regents expect to conduct the UI’s search using the same methods used at ISU and UNI.

Rastetter said he believed it was especially important that the regents take their time in forming a search committee and understand the needs of the UI community by spending time on campus listening to the ideas of those directly impacted.

“All three universities are different and unique in their own right,” Rastetter said.

Some of the basic framework to the regents’ presidential search, so far, includes issuing a request for proposal immediately to hire a search firm that will carry out a national search.

When asked whether the regents whether they were looking to hire a new president internally, Rastetter said the search would be national but would include internal candidates who may fit the criteria that will be decided upon in the near future.

The regents will discuss the recommendation during their upcoming meeting in Cedar Falls Feb. 4-5.


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