University Senate outlines presidential search committee

University Senate convened yesterday afternoon — along with special guests from the Oregon State Board of Higher Education — to discuss the search to replace former University President Richard Lariviere.

The meeting began with opening remarks from Interim President Robert Berdahl on his aspirations — as well as his expectations — for the campus community in helping decide who will become the new leader of the University.

“I challenge you to seize the moment and do the very best in finding an exceptional candidate,” he said. “I believe I can be of help in that process, and I hope to play a helpful role.”

Berdahl also reflected on the replacement president coming into a system in which the University has its own governing board. He said he would like to have the independent governing board set up before the new president takes office.

“An independent governing board is essential to the recruitment of a strong, successful president, and I believe the moment is right for change,” Berdahl said.

He then took questions from the audience on topics ranging from the utilization of green space on campus to his view of what the role of the student should be at the University.

“We have to work together to maintain the quality of this place,” he said.

The two special guests from OUS, Chancellor George Pernsteiner@@[email protected]@ and presidential search committee chairman Allyn Ford,@@[email protected]@ were both given opportunities to speak on the progress of the search committee.

“The task at hand is to get the search committee together,” Ford said.

He is currently the only member so far of the what will be a 20-member committee. Both Pernsteiner and Ford stressed the importance of getting the committee together by nominating well-respected community members.

“We are seeking a top-quality candidate for this University, and it is very important that the members of the search committee be respected by their various constituencies,” Pernsteiner said.

Campus community members and University stakeholders can make nominations for the search committee by sending a description of the candidate — and why he or she will make a good committee member — to Sona Andrews, vice chancellor for academic strategies.@@[email protected]@

Pernsteiner also outlined for the committee the process for selecting a search consultant. The consultant will be an outside professional picked by people such as Ben Eckstein, Sona Andrews, Robert Kyr@@[email protected]@ and other OUS and University members. Pernsteiner says they hope to name the search consultant by next Friday, Jan. 20.

Ford said that he hopes the first search committee meeting will happen in late January, with a chance to review the process at the Feb. 8 University Senate meeting. The meeting will have an open forum at which community members will be allowed to weigh in on the search process, including a discussion of qualities and characteristics for the prospective candidates.

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