MU chancellor search to be conducted by 22-member committee

UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton and MU College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa will lead the search to fill the position, which has been held by an interim for 13 months.
MU College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa, left, and UM-Kansas City Chancellor Leo Morton, right, are to head up the MU chancellor search committee. Laboa photo courtesy of MU College of Engineering. Morton photo courtesy of UMKC Chancellor's Office

MSA President Sean Earl will be the only undergraduate student representative on the MU chancellor search committee, which was announced Dec. 29 in a UM System press release. The committee will be led by two chairs overseeing 20 members.

Interim UM System President Mike Middleton and his permanent successor, Mun Choi, consulted different representative groups at MU to select the committee members. The committee will be tasked with selecting the next MU chancellor, a position that has been filled by interim Hank Foley since Nov. 10, 2015, after former Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned amid student protests.

Earl, who was chosen as the Missouri Students Association president in a special election on March 4, was chosen by Middleton and Choi to represent undergraduate students in the search for the next chancellor.

While Earl will represent undergraduate students, Michael Hendricks will represent graduate students. Hendricks, who is director of state affairs for the Graduate Professional Council, is a doctoral candidate in the political science department, according to the GPC website. He received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in comparative politics and international relations from MU. He has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua and China. Hendricks has been an active member on both the Persons with Disabilities and National Affairs committees, according to the GPC website.

Two student representatives served on the search committee for Loftin, according to a 2013 UM System press release. Former MSA President Nick Droege and former GPC President Jacob Wright helped select Loftin, who became chancellor in February 2014.

A UM System spokeswoman said there is no specific date or timeframe for the official selection or announcement of the next chancellor. The next step in the search process will be open forums starting at the beginning of the spring 2017 semester.

The committee will be led by Leo Morton, chancellor of UM-Kansas City, and MU College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa. Morton has served as UMKC chancellor since Dec. 15, 2008. Before his role as chancellor, Morton served in engineering and manufacturing positions with different companies for 40 years, according to the UMKC website. Morton holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University and a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Loboa started as dean for the college on Oct. 15 after coming from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. Loboa is the first female dean of the college, according to its website. She holds both a master’s and a doctoral degree from Stanford University.

Morton and Loboa will oversee 20 other members — 10 women and 10 men, compared to an 18-member search committee of 10 men and eight women that selected Loftin. Loftin, who replaced Brady Deaton, was selected by a committee led by Ann Covington, a former member of the UM System Board of Curators, and Dean Mills, former dean of the School of Journalism. Similar to the search committee for Loftin, there are deans, a chancellor from a UM System campus, professors, alumni, an undergraduate and graduate student and the Mizzou Alumni Association president on the current committee. There is no member from the Board of Curators on the current committee.

Other groups represented on the committee include Mizzou Alumni Association, MU Staff Advisory Council, MU Retiree Association, MU Faculty Council and The Missouri 100, which consists of members who “advise and assist the [UM System] president in promoting the critical role of the University of Missouri System in our state's future and its reputation around the world.”

Kevin McDonald, chief diversity officer for the UM System, is also among the 22 members. McDonald is also the interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity at MU.

MU professors will also play a role in the search. Vairam Arunachalam from the College of Business, Joi Moore from the College of Education, Elizabeth Parks from the School of Medicine, David Singh from the College of Arts & Science and Katherine Reed from the School of Journalism will represent some of the academic units on campus. Neil Olson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, was also selected for the committee.

Choi will have the final say in the selection of the next MU chancellor.

Edited by Nancy Coleman |

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