Wednesday, November 25, 2009

U of I presidential search committee to hold public forums

Faculty, students, public invited to make suggestions, ask questions, present ideas

URBANA, Ill. — The University of Illinois’ presidential search committee is holding public forums on each of the University’s three campuses to give faculty, students, staff and the general public an opportunity to discuss qualities needed for the new president.

U of I trustee and presidential search committee chair Pamela B. Strobel said the forums are intended to be “listening sessions,” using the ideas of campus constituencies to help assess the qualifications and experience the new University of Illinois president should possess.

“The forum discussions will help the search committee develop a set of criteria in choosing a new president,” Strobel said. “We will then use the criteria to measure the qualifications of our potential candidates.”

The president is the chief executive officer of the University of Illinois system and is responsible to the Board of Trustees. The chancellors of the University’s three campuses report to the president.

Strobel will moderate the public forums, and other members of the 19-member Search Committee to Assist in the Selection of a President for the University of Illinois also will attend.

The first forum will be held at the Chicago campus, 3-5 p.m., on Wednesday, Dec. 2, in Rooms A, B, C, on the first floor of the Student Services Building, 1200 W. Harrison St. (Racine Avenue and Harrison Street).

The second forum will be held at the Urbana campus, 3-5 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009, in Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana.

The third forum is scheduled for the Springfield campus, 3-5 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 8, in the auditorium in Brookens Library.

The presidential search committee, announced at the Nov. 12 Board of Trustees meeting, includes three trustees; eight faculty members and three students from the University’s three campuses; one representative from the alumni association and one from the foundation; one administrative officer, one academic professional and one civil service representative.

While the search committee members represent all of the U of I’s major constituencies, the board in its charge said that the committee members should not consider themselves as a representative of any single interest group. Rather, the members were charged to exercise their judgment as to the best interests of the University as a whole.

The search committee will identify and screen potential presidential candidates. The goal is to have a new president in place by July 1, 2010, or at the latest when the fall 2010 academic year begins.

The search committee’s first assignment is to develop a white paper outlining the nature of the University, the role of the president, challenges and expectations the next president may face and personal qualifications necessary for the position. The Office of the Board of Trustees will create a presidential search Web site, including the white paper, a position announcement and description, call for nominations, search committee members, news releases, announcement of open candidate forums and search firm contact information.

The Board of Trustees’ key expectations of the successful candidate are leadership experience in leading and managing a large, complex academic organization; a commitment to academic excellence in teaching, research and service; the ability to communicate with the University’s external and internal constituencies; an understanding of the changing nature of higher education and its roles in local, state, regional and national economies; the ability to adapt to changing and challenging fiscal environments; and the experience to bring clarity and rationality to a complex administrative structure.

Individuals wishing to speak to the representatives of the search committee will be asked to sign in before the forum begins. Comments may also be sent to the search committee at: presidentsearch@uillinois.edu.

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The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 71,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I awards more than 18,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.

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