The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents met Friday, Jan. 31, at the University of Nevada, Reno to discuss plans for forming the search for a new university president.
The meeting first opened the floor for public comment.
“One concern that has been consistently mentioned,” Faculty Senate Chair Brian Frost said, “has been a potentially limited number of candidates throughout… and the lack of transparency when evaluating applications.”
Frost continued to mention the university is in need of at least four prospective candidates. He also suggested a few members of the Advisory Board assist the Presidential Search Committee in visualizing the needs of the university.
Community member Jean Jeon stated what she would like to see from the search committee when finding a new president.
“Autocratic administrators and excessive bureaucracy has become a major hindrance to higher education across the country,” Jeon said. “It is important that we strive to select a new leader that puts a high priority on fostering a culture, and allows the core principles of higher education to flourish at UNR.”
John Nolan, a member of the Nevada Faculty Alliance, spoke on the issue as well.
“We hope that the final candidates that the chancellor and search firms select for campus visits will be thoroughly vetted and represent the highest standards of professional excellence.” Nolan said.
Nolan also stated his hopes for the new president to reach high successes similar to current university President Marc Johnson.
The Chair of the Board of Regents Jason Geddes spoke upon the matters of the search. He stated it has nearly been nine years since Johnson was hired to the position. He also stated it was the best decision for the university at the time. Johnson previously served as university provost.
Geddes also stated a goal for the university to become a member of the American Association of Universities, which would take place underneath the new president.
Open Meeting Law
Chief of Staff and Special Counsel for the Board of Regents Dean Gould spoke on the legal matters of board and search committee meetings. Gould stated the board meeting was subject to open meeting law in Nevada under NRS 241. He stated the search committee is a current sub-committee of the Board of Regents, and therefore is also subject to the same open meeting law. This translates to “public work completed in the public eye and as transparent as possible.”
Gould discouraged participants of the meeting to engage in side conversations relating to the meeting’s subject matter and stated that discussions should occur only at agendized meetings organized by the board.
He also mentioned that emails and texts on the matter were subject to discovery and applicants for the presidential position are kept confidential until they are deemed finalists.
President Search Process
Search Committee Member Laura Perkins explained the process of selecting presidential applicants and proceeding to choose a new university leader. She stated that the meeting would give the opportunity for board members to look over the draft of the leadership profile.
Perkins also stated there will be four finalists chosen for review. She also said, however, that it is a fluid process and four candidates cannot be guaranteed by the end of the search.
The Search Committee announced they would be taking names of potential candidates, but would formally begin looking in the beginning of April. Candidates will be selected by April 30.
Sarah Strang can be found at email@example.com or on Twitter @sarahstrang100.