Moving toward its goal of naming a successor to University President Lee Bollinger by spring, the University Board of Regents announced yesterday that the eight regents themselves will serve as the presidential search committee.

Regent Larry Deitch (D-Bingham Farms) will chair the committee, and Regent Daniel Horning (R-Grand Haven) will serve as vice chair.

The regents also gave Rackham Dean Earl Lewis a unique present for his birthday yesterday, naming him chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. The advisory committee has not been formed, but Deitch announced that the committee will consist of seven faculty members, two staff members, two students, two alumni, and one representative from the Dearborn and Flint campuses.

Bollinger will leave the University at the end of the semester and become president of Columbia University next summer. Former Business School Dean B. Joseph White will serve as interim president until a permanent replacement is found.

“We hope to fill out the committee shortly and keep the process moving toward a relatively quick resolution by springtime,” Deitch said.

“We want to be thorough and as inclusive as possible, but we also want to make a decision,” Lewis said. “I think that means an aggressive schedule.”

The committee is expected to be named in the coming weeks, and Lewis said he hopes to meet with the committee immediately.

Exact details of how the search will proceed are still being worked out. The regents have decided to employ an executive search consultant to aid in the process, but they have not yet decided which firm. No decision has been made regarding how public input will be considered.

“There are a number of people in the United States and the world who would be viable candidates, and the job of the committee is to try to help identify them,” Lewis said.

Lewis said candidate confidentiality is likely to be one priority during the search. White has not announced whether he will be a candidate for the permanent position. Lewis said White would go through the same process as the rest of the candidates.

Also at yesterday”s regents meeting, the board unanimously approved state appropriations requests for all three University campuses.

The University is asking for a 4 percent increase in funding, but even that is “far less than we need,” interim Provost Lisa Tedesco said. She acknowledged that the state may not be able to supply the 4 percent increase.

“We recognize that this is going to be a difficult year for the state,” she said. “Our goal is to weather the economic storm without losing excellence.”

Major initiatives should maintain their momentum, but other programs may face cuts.

Fiscal year 2003 “is going to be a very hard year and won”t be business as usual, and we have to make cuts,” said Paul Courant, associate provost for academic and budgetary affairs. The University will work with the deans to determine the right areas to scale back funding, he added.

The proposal for the establishment of a Depression Center at the University, which Regent Andrea Fisher Newman (R-Ann Arbor) called “absolutely necessary,” also passed without opposition.

“This is a very big deal,” Deitch said. “We should be excited about this and we should really put our energy behind this.”

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