9/23/2014 update: Alex Cremer has the Chuck Lillis interview in the ODE, along with an excellent Dominic Allen photo, here.
Q: What are you looking for in terms of the new president?
A: When I think about what the most important attributes are of the president, having once been a faculty member, I think faculty work best if they are confident that the president of the university understands what it’s about to be a faculty member. That’s not true at Stanford, I’d say Stanford could go hire Jeff Immelt who’s the CEO of GE and probably everyone would say that’s a brilliant move, but I think for Oregon it should probably be somebody who has strong experience in the university administration system, who holds a Ph.D or something similar in terms of degree and someone who has superior communication skills.
And the Board has just announced an emergency telephone meeting of the audit committee, to add some faculty to the search committee. The junior search committee or PSAG, that is. Is this an effort to actually get faculty input, or an effort to pretend that they’ve gotten faculty input? We’ll know in a year or two. Meanwhile Coltrane says he is not applying for the permanent job – but then he would say that, wouldn’t he?
9/15/2014: Lillis disputes RG report that he is the decider for presidential hire
Ry Rivard of Inside Higher Ed has an interview (link fixed) in which new UO Board Chair Chuck Lillis disputes the RG report that he now has the sole secret power to decide who will be UO’s next president. The story has just been updated with this:
Inside Higher Ed last week requested all documents that outlined the search plan but was not provided with the actual plan, which has was brought to the site’s attention on Monday by UO Matters, a blog that carefully follows the university. The plan clearly contradicts the chairman’s characterization of his powers in the Friday interview. A spokeswoman for the university, Julie Brown, said Monday the omission was “not intentional.”
Decide for yourself. According to the motion that the board passed after no public review (Board Secretary Angela Wilhelm left if out of the public docket materials) and apparently without even much notice to the board, UO’s next president will be appointed according to these rules:
RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE BOARD / BOARD ACTION
The Committee will ultimately recommend qualified finalists to the Board Chair. The recommendations should be accompanied by a detailed report of the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, especially in terms of the desired qualifications for the position. The Board Chair will interview the Committee’s finalists and forward finalists to the full Board. The Chair is authorized to narrow the field of candidates after consultation with the Committee, and is also authorized to rank the candidates. The Board will interview the finalists forwarded by the Chair in executive session. Any final decision by the Board will be made in a public meeting, and all of the Board’s deliberations and discussions leading to that decision will be in accordance with Oregon’s public meeting laws.
Which sounds to me like Lillis can pick the finalists and if he wants to, that could be one finalist. He’d have to consult with the committee, but he could ignore their advice, and they would be sworn to secrecy about what had happened.
This procedure, and the unusual two search committees with only token student and faculty representation (all of them also picked by Lillis) that were reported by Diane Dietz in the RG are odd enough to have already attracted a highly critical editorial in the Salem Statesman Journal.
I’d say it’s an open question as to whether these unusual search and hiring procedures are really going to help accomplish Lillis’s stated goal from the Gottfredson firing meeting:
Q: What kind of qualities in new Pres? Lillis: Great academic credentials will be #1. Experience with how universities operate, has been in trenches. Someone who is not easily misled, with communications skills, can handle external constituencies.