Many MU students seem to be in the dark about both the goings-on of the Chancellor Search Committee, a group of individuals whose purpose is to suggest an administrator that will ultimately shape the future of the university, and the rigorous, months-long selection process it takes to find that future campus leader.
Since former Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned amid campus unrest in fall 2015, MU has been lead by interim Chancellor Hank Foley. The UM System has been actively looking for a permanent replacement since a “detailed, comprehensive national search” was announced in an email to students and faculty from UM System officials on Dec. 5, 2016.
So who will be the new chancellor? The official position profile, a document listing the necessary qualifications and characteristics of a potential chancellor, calls for “an abiding interest in the development and success of students of all backgrounds” and “multi-cultural competence and a demonstrated awareness of and sensitivity to all people.”
The responsibility to find the candidate that fits the bill falls to the Search Committee, which was formed after consulting different representative groups at MU, and it will be working in coordination with Isaacson, Miller, the same national search firm that led the university to Choi.
A little under a month later, Middleton announced the names of the individuals included in the Chancellor Search Committee. The 22-member committee is comprised of faculty, alumni and students, with the roles of committee co-chair assigned to UM-Kansas City Chancellor Leo Morton and MU College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa.
Two students are also included on the committee. Sean Earl, former Missouri Students Association president, and Michael Hendricks, director of state affairs for the MU Graduate Professional Council, together bring a blend of undergraduate and graduate representation.
After creating the committee, UM System leadership started to plan meetings to engage a variety of constituent groups, described as a “public forum and a series of stakeholder meetings.”
These meetings, which took place in January, garnered a bit of controversy when the university decided that the search committee would not be subject to Missouri’s Sunshine Law, which requires publicly funded bodies to hold most meetings open to the public.
This decision has been called “questionable” by Kansas City attorney Jean Maneke — she said administration officials skillfully avoid the intent of the Sunshine Law by “walking in the shadows of the language.”
According to UM System President Mun Choi, the search is set to conclude this month, the same month that Foley, who once expressed interest in the permanent position, will leave MU to become president of the New York Institute of Technology.