WSU regents hope to pick president by spring

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PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Washington State University's board of regents hopes to hire a new president for the school by next spring.

The regents held a special meeting Thursday to approve the selection of an executive search firm and to adopt guidelines for the search.

The meeting comes two months after WSU President Elson Floyd died of complications from colon cancer. Floyd, who started his tenure in 2007, was the 10th president of the university and its first black president.

The Lewiston Tribune ( ) reported that board President Ryan Durkin said choosing a university's president is the regents' "most important responsibility."

"We will need help from the entire WSU community," she said.

Regent Michael Worthy also cautioned that the board has the final say.

"As much as we're trying to engage all the university constituencies, at the end of the day the final selection is the board's responsibility," he said.

Worthy leads the committee that designed the search process. He believes a new president can be selected by the end of the spring semester, but he said the primary goal will be finding the best candidate.

The search guidelines show the board wants someone who, like Floyd, can steer WSU toward becoming a pre-eminent land grant university and research institution.

The board hired Isaacson, Miller, an executive search firm headquartered in Boston, to help find qualified candidates. The company focuses on nonprofit and civic institutions.

A search advisory committee will help evaluate the candidates and narrow the field to a handful of finalists who will be interviewed by the Board of Regents. Worthy said its membership could be set at the regents' regular meeting next week.

The advisory committee will likely have members from all major university constituent groups, he said, including faculty, administrative staff, students, the alumni association and the WSU Foundation.

"We want to make sure there are voices in the room representing all WSU campuses and all constituencies," Worthy said.

The board plans to hold at least seven community forums across the state to solicit feedback on what characteristics the next president should embody.

WSU was criticized for a lack of transparency when Floyd was hired.

University of Washington regents have also been criticized for their presidential search process. More than 3,000 UW students and faculty signed a petition this summer urging the regents to name the finalists and allow the university community to meet them before a final selection is made.


Information from: Lewiston Tribune,

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