UM System to launch accelerated search for Deaton's successor

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 | 6:17 p.m. CDT; updated 4:07 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 12, 2013

COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri System is beginning an accelerated search for Chancellor Brady Deaton’s successor and aims to fill the position before Deaton steps down Nov. 15.

The Faculty Council Executive Committee met with UM System President Tim Wolfe on Monday to review a timeline for the search process, Faculty Council Chairman Harry Tyrer said.

UM is accelerating its search to compete with several other universities that are looking for new leaders. Other Association of American Universities members with vacancies to fill include California Institute of Technology, University of Michigan and The Ohio State University.

“A reason for this rapid search is to try and get an edge on these other institutions,” Tyrer said. “It’s better for us to act fast than to act slowly if we’re going to get a really top-notch individual.”

An accelerated search would also eliminate the need for an interim chancellor, Tyrer said.

Stephen Montgomery-Smith, chairman of the Faculty Affairs Committee, said eliminating an interim chancellor period would allow a new chancellor to immediately influence change at MU.

“An interim chancellor might not feel as if they have the mandate to bring MU to the place it needs to be in terms of quality,” Montgomery-Smith said. “A high-quality chancellor coming in soon will be really good for MU.”

Tyrer said UM officials will hold a series of town hall meetings in late July to identify the traits faculty, students, staff, alumni and other stakeholders seek in a new chancellor. Exact dates for the meetings have not yet been confirmed, though Tyrer said Wolfe and the Faculty Council Executive Committee were considering the week of July 22.

The search will be closed in part because many candidates do not want to be considered if their names are released to the public, Tyrer said.

“Everyone wants this to be transparent,” Tyrer said. “The entire search process will be open, it’s just that the candidates will not be named.”

Student Affairs chairman Craig Roberts, who will lead Faculty Council beginning July 25, said the closed search process should not significantly affect stakeholders’ input in the search.

“It’s not so disturbing, so long as they listen to us and place a value on some of the things that we considered,” Roberts said.

In September and October, a private search firm will create a list of possible candidates, which a UM search committee will narrow further. Tyrer said the committee would aim to narrow the field to about three finalists who would interview with the search committee and Wolfe.

Tyrer said the new chancellor would represent only MU. To avoid conflict of interest with other UM schools, the UM System will not combine the chancellor role with the UM System president or executive vice-president roles.

“In the 40 or so years that the system has been in place, the independence of the chancellors is really important,” Tyrer said. “How can (a chancellor who also works for the UM System) issue a competition for funds if he’s also one of the competitors? That’s just not going to work.”

During the meeting, some Faculty Council members gave Wolfe the traits they hope to see in a new chancellor and agreed that a chancellor should demonstrate quality. Roberts said he hoped the new chancellor would focus on MU’s status as a land-grant university, Extension, AAU member and home of medical and law schools.

“In addition to being a quality person, we want someone who places a value on Mizzou," Roberts said. “We’re one of four universities in the system, so the chancellor has to advocate for Mizzou.”

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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