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Presidential search nears evaluations

BY BEN MARKS | AUGUST 03, 2015 5:00 AM

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Today is the final deadline on applications for the position of president of the University of Iowa, and so far 44 candidates have applied.

Laurie Wilder, the president of Parker Executive Search, a consulting firm that is running the UI search, said her people expect six more applications by the end of today. However, she said, some potential applicants could submit after the deadline because of confidentiality concerns.

“The last thing you want to do is lose someone based on timing,” she said during the UI Search Committee’s July 30 telephonic meeting.

None of the names of the applicants have been released yet, and they won’t be until the top candidates are brought to campus in September.

The Search Committee is evaluating the candidates on a three-tier rating system based on the materials the candidates have submitted, Wilde said.

Each member’s nonbinding selections will then be entered onto a secure Parker website, on which they’ll be tallied to find the most popular candidates.

Wilder said she expects somewhere from eight to 12 top candidates to emerge at that point.

The committee will then meet the day after the deadline —Tuesday —at 3 p.m. in the University Capitol Center to discuss the results of the evaluations in a closed session. Although candidate discussion is closed, the meeting will begin and end in public sessions.

Some committee members wondered if they were allowed to Google candidates to get information or if they were only allowed to look at the material submitted.

Wilder said that is usually up to the university, and said she’s seen some searches allow it and others ban it.

She advised committee members to only look at professional sites and avoid unprofessional places such as Facebook and Instagram when making their decisions, but she deferred more advice to Carroll Reasoner, the UI’s general counsel.

“The process is to normally review the material that is submitted,” Reasoner said. “We don’t have a policy per say, but I know it’s always a concern that what’s the validity of the sources that you’re hitting when you put in such information. If they are going to make such searches that they make sure it’s a reliable, professional site.”

As potential candidates continue to apply, committee members will be able to alter their candidate ratings until the end of business hours today.

On Aug. 11-12, the committee will hold airport interviews in Chicago with the top candidates.

Airport interviews are called such because they’re generally held at hotels or venues near airports, allowing a search panel to see and interview a rapid number of candidates from many locations.

Each candidate will be interviewed for an hour and a half, and with roughly eight to 10 candidates, Wilder estimates it will be a full two days.

After the airport interviews, the final candidates will be brought to the UI campus for public interviews from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3. On Sept. 4, the state Board of Regents will interview the finalists in a closed session; the regents are expected to select a president shorty after.


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