It’s official: the University of Michigan is searching for its new president.
University regents Sarah Hubbard (R) and Denise Ilitch (D), co-chairs of the Presidential Search Committee, shared in an email to the campus community Tuesday afternoon that the new Presidential Search Committee will meet for the first time later this week.
The committee will consist of the eight regents and members of the campus community including students, faculty and alumni from all three U-M campuses and Michigan Medicine. Throughout February, the regents will solicit feedback from community members through virtual learning sessions and an online survey for people unable to attend.
“The leader of the nation’s top public research university is one of the most prominent and influential positions in all of higher education,” Hubbard and Ilitch wrote. “The committee’s work will rely on the university community’s insight into the challenges and opportunities that may face our university and its new president in the coming decade, as well as the personal characteristics and experiences needed to lead the university at this moment in time.”
Hubbard and Ilitch said the Presidential Search Committee will be working closely with the regents and an executive search firm to make recommendations and review candidates before the full Board of Regents elects the next University president.
“To protect candidate privacy and encourage the greatest number of well-qualified candidates to apply, the committee will keep candidate names confidential,” Hubbard and Ilitch wrote.
To assist with recruiting and examining candidates, the regents have hired John Isaacson and John Muckle from the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller. Hubbard and Ilitch wrote that the firm specializes in recruiting leaders for organizations and conducts more than 350 senior-level executive searches each year. Over the past 38 years, the firm has conducted more than 7,300 searches, according to Hubbard and Ilitch.
Forty-five percent of the firm’s searches resulted in hiring women and 25% resulted in hiring people of color, Hubbard and Ilitch added.
In a statement to The Michigan Daily, University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald shared that the Board of Regents hopes to have the next University President elected by this summer.
“The Board of Regents and the Presidential Search Committee are looking at both internal and external candidates to identify candidates best suited to lead the University of Michigan at this moment in time,” Fitzgerald wrote.
Additionally, Fitzgerald said Interim University President Mary Sue Coleman’s contract is still being finalized and that Coleman has agreed to serve until the new president takes office.
Members of the committee include Lecturers’ Employee Organization President Kirsten Herold, Colleen Conway, former chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs and other faculty and students from across all three University campuses.
The search for a new president comes after the Board of Regents fired former University President Mark Schlissel on Jan. 15 for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. Though Schlissel will no longer serve as University President, he was offered a contract to return to campus this fall as a professor in the microbiology and molecular, cellular, and developmental biology departments.
Nominations and applications for the University President may be submitted directly to the firm and will remain confidential.
Update 2/8: This article has been updated with a statement from University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald.
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