UW Board of Trustees Adopts Presidential Search Process

October 12, 2012

The search for the next president of the University of Wyoming will involve representatives of a cross section of the campus and constituents from across the state, the UW Board of Trustees decided Friday.

The board voted in favor of a resolution calling for two screening committees to narrow the list of presidential candidates; setting a timetable for the search process; and using a private firm to assist in recruiting candidates and accepting applications.

An initial screening committee will be composed of five members of the Board of Trustees, with an additional eight to 10 representatives of the student body, faculty, staff, the UW Foundation and external constituent groups, as appointed by board President Dave Bostrom. That committee will be charged with reviewing all applications and identifying at least 12 candidates who warrant further consideration by about Dec. 10.

That list of candidates will be forwarded to a second screening committee, which will consist of five members of the Board of Trustees who aren’t on the initial screening panel; and an additional five to seven representatives of the student body, faculty, staff, UW Foundation and external constituent groups who aren’t on the initial committee. The second screening committee will be charged with narrowing the candidate pool to at least five finalists by about Jan. 24.

The entire Board of Trustees will interview each finalist and then select the successor to President Tom Buchanan, who will retire as president in 2013. The board plans to introduce the new president by Feb. 27.

“We’re committed to an inclusive process that involves students, faculty, staff and people outside the campus community,” Bostrom says. “The board is excited to receive input from this wide range of people to make sure we select the best possible person for the job.”

The Board of Trustees on Friday morning interviewed three consulting firms to assist with the search: Greenwood/Asher & Associates Inc.; Academic Search Inc.; and Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates. All have experience in helping universities hire presidents. Pending contract negotiations, the board expects to announce the selection of one of those firms as early as next week.

The Board of Trustees also voted to not disclose the names of candidates for president throughout the search process -- until it votes to hire a president. That approach is in accordance with the executive session provisions of the Wyoming Open Meetings Act, which allows public bodies to confidentially “consider the appointment, employment, right to practice or dismissal of a public officer, professional person or employee.”

Representatives of all three search firms said a confidential process presents the greatest opportunity for UW to attract the deepest pool of candidates, including sitting presidents at other universities and non-traditional candidates from private industry and government. Such an approach is becoming increasingly common for university presidential searches.

Trustees emphasized that they will consider both internal and external candidates, and anyone who wishes to apply.

“We’re looking for the best-qualified individual to build on President Buchanan’s excellent leadership over the past seven years,” Bostrom says. “Both President Buchanan and the three consulting firms have made clear the very significant value of a confidential process in attracting a deep pool of candidates, including sitting university presidents. The task we are involved in right now is finding the next great president of what has become a great university.”

Bostrom is scheduled to announce the members of the search committees by Oct. 24.

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