The University Record, January 30, 1996

Regents OK plan for search

Provost J. Bernard Machen presented to the Regents last Thursday a 14-step plan for conducting the search for the successor to President James J. Duderstadt, who will step down from the post June 30. The Regents voted to accept the proposal, 7-0, with Regent Deane Baker abstaining.

According to the timeline set forth in the plan, co-written with the Secretary of the University Roberta Palmer and Vice President for University Relations Walter Harrison, a list of all prospects will be made public in September, with the Regents selecting a president in September or October. Homer A. Neal, vice president for research, will serve as interim president, effective July 1.

In the introduction to the plan Machen, Palmer and Harrison write that they believe the proposal follows the guidelines of the Open Meetings Act and allows for the greatest amount of privacy for candidates. The process "will involve all segments of the University community (faculty, students, staff and alumni) and provides the Regents with the widest possible selection of prospects and a recommended group of candidates for the presidency. We believe this process will allow for confidentiality during the early stages of the process, while at the same time provide for openness and accountability to the public."

"This process," they add, "incorporates a number of the suggestions presented to the Regents during their public forums."

The plan calls for the creation of a Presidential Search Advisory Committee (PSAC) which will act as an advisory group to the Regents. The PSAC will be comprised of 12 members: seven faculty members, two students (one undergraduate and one graduate) two staff members and one graduate) two staff members and one alumnus/a. Added Machen, "We also intend to have regional campuses represented."

Nominations and self nomination for the PSAC may be submitted by e-mail,, or in writing, J.B. Machen, 3074 Fleming 1340, by Mon. (Feb. 5). Include a paragraph about the individual(s) nominated. All information will be confidential.

The PSAC will work closely with Malcolm MacKay, managing director of the executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. MacKay was chosen by the Regents earlier this month to be the presidential search consultant. Machen said the PSAC will eliminate no names from the potential candidates, stating "its sole purpose is advisory in nature."

Regent Andrea Fischer Newman added, "During the initial part of the search process, there will be no conatct between the Regents and the PSAC," to ensure that the Regents are not violating the Open Meetings Act.

Under the paln, the PSAC will review applications and nominations and develop a list of recommended prospective candidates. "Just because a person's name is on the list deosn't mean they ever expressed interest in the postition," said Regent Shirley M. McFee.

The Regents will consider the list presented by the PSAC and may consider candidates not recommended by the PSAC. All deliberations on the list of candidates will be held in public and all meetings between finalists and the Regents will be held publicly.

Machen said that while it is possible for the process to be completed sooner than described in the plan, he suggested the Regents stick to the plan's timeline.