At second MU chancellor search meeting, speakers ask for diversity

Thursday, July 25, 2013 | 4:07 p.m. CDT; updated 5:38 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 25, 2013

COLUMBIA — Hiring diversity and salary concerns were key issues Thursday in the second of two public forums for the MU chancellor search.

Rebecca Calvin, marketing specialist for the Chancellor's Diversity Initiative, said the next chancellor should promote diversity by focusing on campus climate.

MU chancellor search committee

Members of the search committee are:


Ann Covington, curator, UM System Board of Curators

Dean Mills, dean, School of Journalism


James Birchler, curators professor of biological sciences, College of Arts and Science, member of the National Academy of Sciences

Nick Droege, president, Missouri Students Association, undergraduate student in biology

Joan Gabel, dean, Trulaske College of Business

Anita Hampton, vice chairwoman of communications, Extension State Council, MU Extension

Jana Hawley, professor and department chairwoman, Department of Textile and Apparel Management, College of Human Environmental Science

Ellis Ingram Sr., associate dean for diversity and inclusion, associate professor, Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine

Tracey Mershon, president of the Mizzou Alumni Association

Deborah S. Noble-Triplett, assistant vice president, UM System

James Pace, alumnus, retired CEO of ROM Corp.

Cheryl B. Schrader, chancellor, Missouri University of Science and Technology

Gary L. Smith, director emeritus of admissions and registrar (retiree), MU

Rebecca Stafford, chairwoman, Staff Advisory Council

Jinglu Tan, director, Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering, professor and chairman of the Department of Biological Engineering

Mitch Wasden, CEO, MU Health Care

William Wiebold, professor of plant sciences, Division of Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, MU Faculty Council

Jacob "Jake" Wright, president, Graduate Professional Council, doctoral student in philosophy

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"I'd like to see a chancellor who is committed to creating an inclusive campus environment that will really help prepare our faculty, staff and students to compete in the global market," Calvin told University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe, who led the forum at Wrench Auditorium.

Joan Hermsen, chairwoman of the Department of Women's and Gender Studies, said the search committee should focus on finding qualified female candidates.

"The fact that we haven't hired an external candidate in two decades does sort of symbolize the entrenched old boys network on this campus," Hermsen said.

MU's only female chancellor was Barbara Uehling, who served from 1978 to 1987.

The forum was recorded for the chancellor search committee, whose 18 members were named Thursday. The committee will be led by Dean Mills, dean of the School of Journalism, and Ann Covington, a University of Missouri curator.

The forum was held to gather input on qualities the public hopes to see in the next chancellor. The forum Monday emphasized faculty support of shared governance and concerns over state funding reductions.

The feedback will go into the chancellor's job description and a charge for the search committee. In addition to online and Twitter input, the forums were an opportunity for the public to weigh in on the chancellor search.

Compensation, mentoring

MU Testing Services supervisor Khesha Duncan, who also serves on a compensation task force with the Staff Advisory Council, asked Wolfe to choose a candidate who will prioritize mentoring, succession planning and increased compensation for staff.

"I think it's really important to staff who are kind of trapped in middle management to have a chancellor who recognizes the value and importance of staff competency and puts a lot of value in growing our own talent," Duncan said.

Raising staff salaries is a component of MU's strategic plan. Wolfe responded that he would not want a candidate who would scrap strategic planning work committees have completed.

"We've done all this great work in establishing these committees and strategic plan," Wolfe said. "I would hope that the candidate look at the great work and effort and focus and priorities and builds off that."

Wolfe said that ensuring faculty salaries and benefits packages are competitive with other Association of American Universities institutions will also remain a priority. In 2013, MU's salaries for full-time professors put it second to last in a survey of 32 public AAU members.

Meeting attendees also brought up the new chancellor's compensation. Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute secretary Latricia Vaughn asked Wolfe to consider Columbia's low cost of living and MU's budget constraints.

"We don't have to offer a multimillion-dollar package," Vaughn said.

Wolfe responded that cost of living will be taken into consideration but that no salary goal is in mind.

"I have no budget for this," Wolfe said. "I want to pay what is competitive based on the job responsibilities and the candidate pool that's out there."

More on search process

During the meeting, Wolfe elaborated more on the next steps in the search process. He said several prospective candidates have indicated interest.

The search committee will work with the search firm, Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, to slowly winnow a large list of candidates. When the committee and firm have identified two to five finalists for the position, they will begin to work with Wolfe.

"I have no idea who is in the candidate pool," Wolfe said. "I have no influence who gets into the candidate pool. The next step in the process is that I have an unbiased view of what's on paper."

Wolfe said he will then conduct interviews with the finalists and return to the search committee to discuss the candidates again and agree on a top choice for the job.

"We go through candidate by candidate and criteria by criteria," Wolfe said.

In addition to working with a search firm, Wolfe said the UM System is also partnering with human resources firm Talent Plus to screen candidates' interpersonal skills and other strengths and weaknesses.

Wolfe underwent the screening before he was hired and said it could help weed out candidates. He called the screening "insightful" and said taking it made him more aware of his strengths and weaknesses as a leader. 

"I believe that element in the process also prevents us from hiring someone that's great on paper and great in interviews but not so great when she or he hits the street running," Wolfe said. 

A detailed timeline for the search, which has a goal end date of Nov. 15 to coincide with Deaton's retirement, isn't yet available, but Wolfe said he expects one to be uploaded to the chancellor search website soon.

Wolfe said the same search process worked well to select a new chancellor for Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2011 and fill an academic affairs position in the UM System. In both cases, the top-choice candidate ended up in the position.

"It's been a process that is driven and totally influenced by the search committee," Wolfe said. "It's worked well and I fully expect it to work well again."

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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Ellis Smith July 25, 2013 | 7:48 p.m.

"Wolfe said the same search process worked well to select a new chancellor for Missouri University of Science and Technology..."

And also worked well when selecting the previous chancellor (Jack Carney) and the previous chancellor to that chancellor (the late Gary Thomas).

Things can easily be made more complicated than they need to be. The selection process needs to go forward with the clear understanding that the final selection isn't going to satisfy everyone's desires.

BTW, one former MS&T chancellor went on to become first the president of Iowa State University and then the president of Purdue University. That's how to pick 'em!

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