Committee continues search for president

By Sabrina Willmer

With advertisements appearing in newspapers across the country and the candidate search process underway, the Consultative Committee to Assist in the Selection of a President anticipates completion of its University presidential nominee list by the end of this month.

According to University spokesman Tom Hardy, the committee is making strides this summer in the search for a worthy presidential replacement for President James J. Stukel, who announced in January that he would retire on Feb. 1, 2005.

College of Business Dean Avijit Ghosh, chair of the presidential search committee, said he expects to have gathered over 100 candidates for evaluation before the elimination process begins next month. Following the selection of candidates, the Committee will review resumes and conduct interviews to whittle down the pool, he said.

The committee has already received a number of well-qualified nominees, Ghosh said.

The search process began in April after the Board of Trustees appointed 19 faculty, staff, students and alumni to the Consultative Committee and selected an executive search firm, Atlanta-based Baker-Parker Inc.

Hardy said a BOT committee chose Baker-Parker Inc. from six potential firms because of its credentials, which include aiding the University of Tennessee in a recent presidential search.

Presently, the selection process involves finding and attracting suitable candidates through advertisements, contacting other university presidents and chancellors and utilizing the executive search firm to identify and recruit candidates.

The last major development in the search was on June 17 when the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the White Paper, a committee-made document focusing on defining the University in 2004, the future of the University, University challenges and desired characteristics for the next leader, Hardy said.

Baker-Parker and the search committee use the White Paper to bring discipline to the search process, he said.

The Committee has convened seven times since its appointment and will meet more frequently starting in August, Ghosh said.

These meetings involved defining the presidential search criteria.

Ghosh said he hopes the selection process will conclude in December.

Hardy said the selection committee expects the potential president to be a skilled scholar, experienced administrator and someone knowledgeable of how a multimillion-dollar research university operates. A likely presidential choice also needs to be familiar with fundraising, he added.

Meanwhile, the search process for the University’s new chancellor depends on the presidential selection process timetable.

James D. Anderson, chair of the chancellor search committee, said the chancellor would be selected under the new president because he or she would be working under that president, not Stukel.

The committee plans to begin meetings in the fall and hopes to complete the selection process in late spring, Anderson said.