UI trustees hire search firm for $175,000

UI trustees hire search firm for $175,000

3 public meetings will be held soon to gather input on presidential hunt

The University of Illinois will pay a search firm $175,000, plus expenses, to help find the next UI president.

The agreement with Parker Executive Search of Atlanta was approved in May, but trustees did not specify an amount because contract details were being finalized.

Spokesman Tom Hardy told The News-Gazette on Friday that the firm will receive a fee of $175,000, plus up to $21,000 for direct expenses, to help a 19-member search committee recruit candidates to replace President Robert Easter, who will retire on June 30, 2015.

The search is expected to run through the rest of the calendar year, with the brunt of the work done this summer and early fall, Hardy said.

The UI Board of Trustees launched the presidential search in March, appointing the 19-member committee that will develop job qualifications and then identify and screen candidates.

The committee will recommend finalists to the board, which hopes to name a replacement by late fall to ensure a smooth transition before Easter leaves office.

Easter became the university's 19th president on July 1, 2012, after 36 years as a faculty member and top administrator on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

He succeeded Michael Hogan, who had announced his resignation the previous March under pressure from faculty. Hogan was hired in 2010 to succeed B. Joseph White, who had also resigned following an admission scandal on the Urbana campus.

The UI paid search firm Isaacson Miller $160,000 for the 2010 presidential search.

The university is also using Parker for the current search for a Chicago chancellor, and the firm assisted with the hiring of basketball coach John Groce and athletic director Mike Thomas.

The presidential search committee is co-chaired by Trustee Pam Strobel, a member of the board's executive committee, and Douglas Beck, a physics professor from the Urbana campus.

The committee has scheduled three town-hall meetings later this month to get public input on what kind of president it should be looking for. Its next full meeting will be scheduled sometime after that, Hardy said.

The ad for the job and a position description will likely be finalized within the next week or two, he said.

The panel has developed a "white paper" for the search, which describes the president's roles and responsibilities in relation to the Board of Trustees, faculty, campus chancellors, legislators, donors and others. It emphasizes "integral leadership," linking the president, faculty and board in a "well-functioning partnership purposefully devoted to a well-defined, broadly affirmed institutional vision."

The white paper also lists specific qualifications for the new president, including expertise in budget matters. Overall, it calls for a candidate who is a "distinguished leader having impeccable credentials and integrity, with a deep appreciation for the mission of a premier public university, and with experience building and sustaining a highly ranked institution."

"She or he will be a recognized scholar and a proven, capable and successful administrator who will encourage and support excellence and innovation in teaching, research, and public service, as well as in the roles the University and campuses play in support of statewide economic development.

"Leveraging the existing strengths of the University, she or he will drive the institution to produce graduates demonstrating the best in critical and creative thinking skills; new knowledge in the arts, engineering, humanities, health, the sciences, and the professional schools; and new technologies and innovations.

"She or he must possess a demonstrated record of success in promoting diversity and an inclusive environment, and must be prepared to be clear and decisive in leading the University to an inclusive future in which all members of the University community can pursue their goals and the University gains strength from the diversity it builds."

Your turn

If you've got advice for the latest presidential search at the University of Illinois, the search committee is all ears.

Town-hall meetings are scheduled later this month on each of the three UI campuses to get input from faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members.

They will feature an open-microphone format, so speakers can share their thoughts on everything from the challenges that a new president will face to the personal qualities needed for the position. Several members of the search committee will attend each meeting, and input from the forums will be presented to the full committee.

Here's the schedule:

Springfield: 11 a.m. June 23 in Room 3080 University Hall, on Richard Wright Drive.

Chicago: 2 p.m. June 24, Michele M. Thompson rooms, Student Center West, 828 S. Wolcott Ave.

Urbana-Champaign: 1 p.m. June 25 in the Beckman Auditorium, 405 N. Mathews Ave.. (It was originally scheduled for 3 p.m. but was moved up due to scheduling conflicts.)

Presidential priorities

Here are the qualifications for the next UI president, listed in a "white paper" developed this week:

— Leadership experience demonstrating the capacity for comprehensive vision and effective execution of decisions reflecting wisdom, foresight and practical judgment in shaping productive and sustainable programs.

— A clear understanding of, and a commitment to, the public university as an academic institution and agent for fulfilling its responsibilities to the state and to society.

— A record of scholarly distinction.

— A keen understanding of the issues confronting higher education generally, and public universities specifically.

— The skill to articulate the mission, challenges and opportunities of the public university in the service of state and national leadership on these issues.

— Expertise in budgetary matters, including the financial issues currently facing public universities.

— The capacity to foster and maintain an environment that encourages scholarly creativity, productivity and integrity across the range of disciplines at the university.

— A deep and demonstrated commitment to diversity.

— A proven record in advancement activities and alumni relations.

— High personal standards and strong moral values.

— A leadership style built on collaboration, openness and the ability to inspire others by articulating a vision for the future.

Source: UI presidential search committee


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thinks wrote on June 14, 2014 at 9:06 am

My top criteria for a new President:

1) Intends to stay at the University of Illinois and invest the rest of his or her career here. No more institution hoppers. If the person is tapped from elsewhere, has a good reason for leaving there, leaves those behind who are genuinely sorry to see him or her go (unlike the case with former President Hogan), and--again most importantly--intends to stay here for the remainder.

2) Values shared faculty governance. Vows to place education and research (in that order) over administration -- in spending as well as spirit.

3) Values ethics and enforces them. U of I employees take the annual ethics exams and are asked to report violations. There are violations going on at the Urbana-Champaign campus right now (particularly in areas such as conflict of interest and preferential hiring), as anyone who works there knows, but no one reports. Why? Those who report are not rewarded (quite the opposite) and those to whom it would be reported already know about these violations and do nothing. Does this go on at other universities? Other State of Illinois institutions? Almost certainly -- but we have a chance to change course and become a model for others.

4) Makes radical and needed changes to the teaching labor system, in cooperation with faculty, to eliminate the exploitative labor system in higher education upon which it has now come to depend.

UrbanaJake wrote on June 14, 2014 at 3:06 pm

I love a good parade!  Let's form a committee to study and recommend, then all go to lunch at Red Lobster.  The state's treating, again!

Lostinspace wrote on June 14, 2014 at 10:06 am

I'd add: insistence on meeting with the faculty as part of the job interview.