UM curators to present new presidential candidates in August

Friday, July 27, 2007 | 5:20 p.m. CDT; updated 4:46 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MARCELINE — In the next few weeks, the University of Missouri System Board of Curators will begin another round of interviews of candidates to become the next system president.

Board chairman Don Walsworth said curators plan to present three to five candidates to the Presidential Search Advisory Committee by the end of August. Once the committee interviews the final candidates, it will make recommendations to the curators, who will appoint the next president.

“I’m excited about this,” Walsworth said today. “We have some outstanding candidates.”

This will be the board’s second attempt to replace former President Elson Floyd, who left June 1 to lead Washington State University. The curators offered the position to New Jersey executive Terry Sutton, an MU graduate, in May, but Sutter opted to take a job in the private sector, and the search started over.

Walsworth said the board learned from its earlier interviews and will use the experience to ask more questions of the candidates.

Curators met Thursday and today in Walsworth’s hometown of Marceline for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. The curators also held their annual retreat in which they set up a blueprint for the upcoming academic year.

In other board business, curators approved appropriation requests for the 2009 fiscal year. Interim system President Gordon Lamb said the appropriations were a “lean request” and will help fund buildings and projects across the system’s four campuses. The projects with the highest priority include renovations for science and engineering facilities, the Miller Nichols Library at UM-Kansas City and the University of Missouri Health Care’s Children’s Hospital.

The board also approved a three-year, systemwide faculty compensation plan aimed at making salaries more competitive compared with other institutions.

On July 9, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton announced a similar three-year financial plan for the campus called Compete Missouri that has drawn some criticism from faculty members who said their views were not considered in the plan’s formulation. Deaton’s plan includes placing a hold on new hires and consolidating academic programs and centers.

“The three-year financial plan (that Deaton introduced) locks right in with the three-year plan the board just approved,” Lamb said.

Walsworth said the board takes faculty concerns seriously because people make the system great.

“We want to retain our faculty and recruit the brightest available,” he said, “and we have to be competitive financially.”

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