Search committee goes to work

The search for UTD’s new president was officially launched Jan. 26 with an agreement on the general qualities of a potential candidate and discussion of an advertisement to be published nationally.

UTD President Franklyn Jenifer spoke at the meeting and informed the committee of the internal responsibilities of being president, said Teresa Sullivan, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and chair of the search committee. Members also reviewed the Regents’ rules for search committees, she said.

“No one seemed to be pushing any ulterior motives,” said Ryan Davidson, Student Government Association president and search committee member. “Overall, they had a good focus and understanding.”

“The committee seems very dedicated, friendly (and) respectful of each others’ opinions,” Sullivan said. “I think it should be a successful committee.”

The search committee is seeking candidates with budget experience, skills in human resources, a vision for the campus and the ability to pull together a diverse community, Sullivan said.

The committee is also looking for someone with experience in fundraising, the ability to complete the engineering research project jointly funded by the state and Texas Instruments and someone who can add areas of excellence to the campus while not neglecting the current ones, Sullivan said.

The advertisement, to be placed in The Chronicle of Higher Education and distributed to national organizations, will take approximately a week to finalize and will inform potential candidates about UTD and where and how to submit applications, Sullivan said.

“We took the general ideas from The (UT) System and changed the generalized ad to be specific for UTD,” Davidson said.

The initial six-week application period will determine the effectiveness of the executive search firm, Davidson said.

“Anyone can nominate (candidates). All you need is good vital signs,” Sullivan said. “The members (of the committee) have been explicitly asked to nominate people.”

The executive search firm Spencer Stuart was selected for its reputation and 50 years experience to aid the candidate search process, Sullivan said.

The firm was also selected for its ability to search beyond the traditional academic candidates, Sullivan said. She added that the candidate the committee is looking for may be a CEO or even at a federal science agency, not only in academia.

Davidson also said he hopes to have the new president selected in nine months. The committee will meet again March 22 at UTD.

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