UI board may hire firm in search for president

UI board may hire firm in search for president

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees today is expected to take another step toward launching the search for a new president.

In a short meeting scheduled in Springfield today, trustees will consider hiring a search firm to assist the university in its presidential search. President Bob Easter has said he plans to retire in 2015.

Details of the professional services contract have not been released yet. It is not uncommon for the university to hire consultants to help identify, recruit and screen top administrators.

The firm will work with a new committee charged with overseeing the national search. Last month, the board approved the makeup of that search committee, which will be led by co-chairs Pam Strobel, a member of the board's executive committee, and Urbana faculty member Doug Beck. Strobel received bachelor's and law degrees from the UI's Urbana campus; Beck is a professor of physics. There are 19 people on the search committee, including trustees, faculty, students and staff, plus representatives from the UI Foundation and UI Alumni Association.

Easter's term is expected to end on June 30, 2015. Board members have said they hope to name a new president by January to allow transition time.

Also today, trustees will take action on several contracts for construction projects on the Chicago campus; establish several academic programs; and approve the appointment of an interim dean for Urbana's College of Law.

John Colombo has been recommended to be the interim law dean beginning June 1. Colombo, who teaches tax law, has been a faculty member at the UI since 1988. His annual salary will be $264,757, according to university documents. He replaces Bruce Smith, who will return to the faculty. Smith became dean just before news of the "Category I" admissions scandal broke in 2009.

In the afternoon, trustees will meet at the state Capitol to participate in a lobbying day with alumni and members of the alumni association's board of directors. A group of about 100 people will gather on the east steps of the Capitol for a photograph and then break off into groups to meet with state legislators.

Alumni association spokeswoman Vanessa Faurie said the goal was for members of the group to meet with every legislator from every district.

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