University of Missouri System President Elson Floyd told a special meeting of the Board of Curators on Thursday that he will begin his new job at Washington State University on June 1 and offered to remain at UM until then.
At a news conference following a closed session of the board, chairman Don Walsworth said that Floyd offered to remain at UM “in any capacity” until he assumes his new position in Pullman, Wash.
Walsworth also said that the board’s choice of a consultant to help with the search for Floyd’s successor could be announced in a few days or, at the latest, when curators meet for their regularly scheduled meeting Jan. 25-26 in St. Louis. Walsworth said the board is “in negotiations” with one of three firms that made presentations to curators on Thursday.
Walsworth did not commit curators to an open search process for a new system president. However, he said he was hoping curators would agree to establish an advisory board made up of faculty, staff, students and alumni that would interview finalists for the position. He also said open forums are another possibility for public involvement.
Walsworth said curators would “be as candid and open as we can,” short of identifying candidates publicly until the process is well along.
“We need to listen to the people of the state of Missouri because that’s who we’re working for,” he said.
Curators have not yet come up with criteria or parameters for a new president or set a timetable, beyond promising that Floyd’s successor will be best man or woman for the job. “Diversity is important,” Walsworth said, “We’re not limiting our search to the academic realm. It could be a person from business. We’ll consider CEO’s from industry.”
Once curators have hired a search consultant, the firm will meet with the board collectively, then interview each board member individually to put together a profile of the ideal candidate, Walsworth said. Then the search firm will identify and interview potential candidates before presenting them to curators for the final decision.
The search firms being considered by the board are Heidrick & Struggles of Chicago, Baker Parker of Atlanta and Greenwood & Associates of Miramar Beach, Fla.