How to find a president

By the end of February, UVU could have a new president. There are currently four finalists being explored and recommended to the Board of Regents, the group that coordinates with higher education and postsecondary institutions statewide. Here’s how the process generally works:

* First, put out an ad. Mention that a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree is preferred. You are looking for someone with proven abilities as a leader who can work with local leaders, governing boards, other education programs, and the community. UVU’s highest priorities right now include fund-raising and institutional development. “We’re looking for the perfect fit,” said Cameron Martin, overseer for the entire process.

Former President Sederberg (currently the Commissioner of the Board of Regents) was chosen partly because of his skills as a builder, according to Martin. Now, a builder of a different caliber is required – “a builder who can help mature the institution as a regional university.”

* Take advantage of a search consultant, or a “head hunter,” who will conduct background checks and searches based on the criteria given to him or her.

* Next, gather together a search committee to help out the Board of Regents. The committee should consist of community, business and civic leaders; Orem Mayor Jerry Washburn and Provo Mayor Lewis Billings should have a voice on the committee, as well as Joseph Watkins, the UVU student body president, and Scott Jenkins, who represents UVU alumni.

Faculty and staff should also be represented, so appoint faculty members such as Jan Bentley, associate professor in Multimedia, or Charles Allison, who is President of the Faculty Senate and teaches in Computing and Networking Sciences. All together, there will be about sixteen members of the search committee.

* Try to narrow it down to about twelve to fifteen candidates. Anticipate that better job offers, conflicts and other obligations may arise, so you should not release any names just yet to the press or public. The candidates must not even know who the competition is; this confidentiality is walking, as Martin puts it, “a fine line between transparency and respect to the individuals’ lives.” This also demonstrates the credibility of UVU as well as maintains a rich and diverse candidacy pool.

Once they go to the Board of Regents, they will be narrowed down to roughly four or five candidates (of which three or so may have been brought in by the head hunter), at which point they will be given 24 hours before the public announcement of the finalists to confirm whether or not they are still committed.

*Hold forums where the finalists can interact with members of the faculty, student body and the local community as the Board of Regents conducts final interviews and arrives at a final decision.

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