From the Chronicle of Higher Ed, here:
The University of Alaska’s president, James R. Johnsen, announced on Friday that he had withdrawn his candidacy for president of the University of Wisconsin system following growing criticism of his record in Alaska and of Wisconsin’s search, which named him its only finalist.
“After deep reflection as to where I am called to lead a university system through these challenging times, it is clear to me and my family that it is in Alaska,” Johnsen, 62, said in a written statement. He said he appreciated the search committee’s strong support, “but it’s clear they have important process issues to work out.”
The “process” was a monthslong search, led by a committee with no faculty, staff, or student members, that ended up with a single finalist.
Suddenly he’s upset about the process? He happily went along with it, until it bit him in the ass. From the Wisconsin State Journal, here:
“Preventing the public from knowing who else applied for this incredibly important position is a violation of public trust,” Lueders [president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council] said. “It’s a slap in the public’s face.”
Naming a single finalist for top jobs follows a recent trend in higher education. Candidates themselves and search firms — which, in the case of UW System, will be paid upward of $200,000 — argue that public naming creates too much professional exposure and potential problems with a current employer for the finalists who are not picked.
It also makes it very clear to potential applicants whose interests they need to care about – not students, faculty, or voters – no one but the Board and donors.
The scheme used by UO’s Angela Wilhelms and BoT Chair Chuck Lillis to select President Schill was even less public. The rules, which will stand for the search to replace Schill unless they are changed – gave Lillis as Board Chair sole authority to select a single candidate for the board to vote on. Schill met with a few select faculty, then was driven up to Portland to meet with Phil Knight.