Two months into the search for UTD’s next president, the search committee has placed an advertisement in several national periodicals and is beginning to compile a lengthy list of nominees for the post, according to committee members.
“We’re at the edge of the search, ready to jump in,” said Mary McDermott Cook, search committee member, philanthropist and president of the Eugene McDermott Foundation.
To date, the ad has been published in The Dallas Morning News, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as several other higher
education periodicals targeted toward specialized readerships.
While still in the planning stage, questions and concerns are being addressed within the committee. Nominations are being gathered by the executive search
firm Spencer Stuart, but the exact number of nominees to date was not disclosed.
At its next meeting in May, the committee will review the list of nominees submitted by the executive search firm and begin paring down the list of candidates.
“In general, we are still planning the search,” said Murray Leaf, UTD professor and search committee member. “There are a lot of concerns, but nothing major.”
One of the early concerns was where the national advertisement was to be placed.
The committee decided that placing an ad in Science magazine was important to the search and would be worth the additional cost, said Teresa Sullivan, UT System executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and the search committee chair.
“We are dealing with very strong community people who won’t let this be just a run-of-the-mill search, but an intellectual search,” Cook said.
Cook added she was impressed with the process thus far and the communication among the committee chair and the members.
“(Teresa Sullivan) obviously knows what she’s doing. She listens to every committee member,” Cook said. “I am more impressed with her every time.”
Sullivan also directed the efforts for the UT Arlington presidential search in 2003.
One of the concerns mentioned by Leaf stemmed from the UT Arlington search, in which one of the final five candidates removed himself from contention. Finalist Bob Smith, current provost at
the University of Arkansas, removed himself from consideration claiming displeasure with an interviewing process that “smacked of reality television,” according to an article in The Shorthorn –
UT Arlington’s student newspaper.
Leaf said he finds fault with the UT Board of Regents requirement that the search committee submit at least five candidate names.
“That’s an awful long list of names considering the amount of time people have to spend visiting and interviewing,” Leaf said, adding that the committee has learned from UT Arlington’s recent experience.
Sullivan defended the setup of the search.
“I think the process works the way it’s supposed to work,” Sullivan said. “At the end of the day, only one person becomes president…and there’s no way to get around that.”
According to the initial timeline for the search, the procedure should conclude sometime in the fall of 2004.
While she remains uncertain how long the search could take to complete, Sullivan said, “We could make substantial progress during the summer.”