The University of Illinois' new chancellor prefers an open approach .
Searches for candidates to fill top university positions have for decades been highly secretive by design, with secrecy advocates contending that absolute confidentiality is necessary to attract top people.
But maybe secrecy isn't as important as some have claimed it to be.
New University of Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise is taking a more open approach to filling important positions on the Urbana campus. Good for her.
A few weeks ago, Wise held public forums where the top three candidates for the position of vice chancellor for research spoke and answered questions from faculty members.
This week, Wise scheduled similar forums between March 29 and April 5 for the three finalists for the position of provost.
Adam Gamoram of the University of Wisconsin-Madison will meet with UI faculty at 1:30 p.m. March 29 at the Knight Auditorium of Spurlock Museum.
Ruth Watkins, dean of the UI's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will meet with faculty at 1:30 p.m. April 3 in the Deliotte Auditorium of the Business Instructional Facility.
Ilesanmi Adesida, dean of the UI's College of Engineering, will meet with faculty at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Knight Auditorium of the Spurlock Museum.
We've never subscribed to the view that good people won't apply for important jobs if their interest might become known. Obviously, some people would prefer confidentiality, but prestigious jobs, like those open at the UI, will always attract good people.
Aside from that, however, the more members of the UI faculty and staff who have a chance to meet, greet and question applicants, the better they will feel about the person ultimately selected.
So we congratulate Wise on her open approach. She is setting an important precedent that will serve the UI well.