Board of Curators announces presidential search committee co-chairs, search firm

Board of Curators chairwoman Pamela Henrickson: “We want candidates who are going to dig in and do the work and see an opportunity to make a difference in their own careers, on the campus, and in the country at large.”

The UM System Board of Curators announced Tuesday its appointments of the UM System presidential search committee co-chairs, as well as its decision for the executive search firm that will work with the board in selecting the next UM System president.

Chairwoman Pamela Henrickson also announced that assistant communication professor Melissa Click is currently on paid suspension after appealing the board’s Feb. 25 decision to terminate her employment.

Cheryl Walker and James Whitaker were selected as the co-chairs of the search committee that will begin the process of looking for a new UM System president to replace Tim Wolfe. Walker earned her bachelor’s degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology while Whitaker received his bachelor’s degree and doctorate from MU.

“Obviously, diversity is very important, and we reached out to a broader constituency that is diverse in race but also in other ways,” Henrickson said. “That’s why we enlarged the search committee to add faculty and staff, and we’re going to spend a lot of time going out into the community learning what our broader constituents think that our president should be.”

The search committee is made up of the Board of Curators, the student representative to the board and four other members representative of the faculty, staff and students within the UM System.

The other members of the search committee will assist the Board of Curators in selecting the next UM System president. Some of the committee’s duties include recommending qualifications for the position, reviewing and evaluating candidates, and recommending a suitable candidate to the Board of Curators. They are also expected to represent the campus positively and uphold confidentiality.

“We don’t want to some to be dissuaded because their name was leaked early on,” search firm representative Monroe “Bud” Moseley said.

The Board of Curators also announced their decision to select Isaacson, Miller as the executive search firm that will assist the presidential search committee in selecting the right candidate for the position.

Moseley and John Isaacson said they expect to have the search completed before Thanksgiving break or winter break. They said they need enough time to build a deep pool of talent that can survive the scrutiny the firm will put the candidates through.

Isaacson and Moseley stressed the importance of learning about the candidates during this process. They said the goal is to reduce the risk in choosing a leader while increasing knowledge.

“It’s unlikely there will be another public university search this year in the country that will be as public (and) as serious,” Isaacson said.

The search committee is currently in the process of drafting the job description of traits that they would like applicants to have. To help create this description, the committee will hold listening sessions with faculty councils and student organizations throughout March and will also have public listening forums from April 4–8 so the public may also weigh in.

MU’s forum is at 10:30 a.m. April 6 in Reynolds Alumni Center.

During the forums, there will be opportunity for real-time feedback and opportunities for those who cannot attend to submit questions electronically.

“We hope to have a definitional phase in the search that will set up public listening sessions at each of the campuses,” Isaacson said. “That’s very important to hear those voices and understand what people have to say, but it’s equally important for the search committee to come to the conclusion about what it is (they) hope for the new president to get done.”

The board has high expectations for the candidate that will be chosen to fulfill the role of UM System president, Henrickson said.

“We don’t want candidates who are going to shy away from this opportunity,” Henrickson said. “We want candidates who are going to dig in and do the work and see an opportunity to make a difference in their own careers, on the campus, and in the country at large.”

Edited by Taylor Blatchford |

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