UPDATE: Former UM System employee named commissioner of higher education

Thursday, December 2, 2010 | 5:21 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — David Russell, a 19-year employee of the UM System, was named commissioner of higher education for the state of Missouri on Thursday.

Russell was appointed interim commissioner on July 1 after former Commissioner Robert B. Stein's retirement. Kathy Love, public information officer for the Missouri Department of Higher Education, said Russell showed potential for permanent employment early on.

"(The members of the Coordinating Board) acknowledged that he had all the credentials they were looking for, and that he had the ability to lead it full time," she said.

Russell said in the release that his experience in the interim position was helpful in the transition to commissioner and that he expects the job to be "demanding," but "rewarding."

The Missouri Department of Higher Education is overseeing the review of recently targeted "low-producing" higher education programs. Russell's role in the process will involve looking at the work that staff at the department has done on program reviews, and he will be involved in drafting the report that will go to the governor, said Love.

Russell's title as commissioner will earn him a $170,000 salary, she said.

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