Presidential finalists delayed until search pool broadened

UTD’s next president may not be named until October or November after the June 17 search committee meeting was postponed until July 29.

Teresa Sullivan, UT System executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and committee chairman, said the search committee did not meet because she and other members were visiting a candidate.

“Many candidates are cautious of having their names known, so we’re visiting them at their homes,” Sullivan said.

The committee hopes to find additional excellent candidates and deepen its selection pool before they present recommendations of between five and 10 finalists to the UT System Board of Regents.

“A lot of people don’t know what UTD is and we want to show them what we’ve accomplished,” said Robert Nelsen, UTD professor and search committee member. “We have some very good candidates, but we want to make sure we have the best candidates available.”

But showing candidates unfamiliar with UTD its true spirit is hard due to the lack of students and activity during summer.

“Frankly, doing anything over the summer is difficult,” Sullivan said, adding that many people, including the committee members are out of town.

The tentative timeline will be pushed back a couple of weeks, Sullivan said, with the search committee finalizing candidates for airport interviews at their July 29 meeting.

“Candidates should come to visit (UTD) in October or November. I don’t expect a position before that time,” Nelsen said.

Also, Sullivan said that since the search committee will make their candidate recommendation at an off-peak time, the regents will most likely schedule a special meeting to discuss finalists. If the regents decide to meet in person, instead of over the phone, that will take additional time.

The composition of the search committee also has changed after the June 7 resignation by the board of regents chairman.

James Huffines – who was a member of the presidential search committee – was appointed chairman of the board of regents. John Barnhill, who was selected by Gov. Rick Perry in November 2003 to be a regent, will take Huffines’ place.

The chairman will led the meeting in which the regents select UTD’s president, and therefore cannot sit on the search committee, Nelsen said.

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