February 2010: Update on the search for the next President of the University of Alaska

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

I am pleased to report to you that the search for the next President of the University of Alaska is progressing well. Last week the Board of Regents met to consider a robust pool of candidates; we selected nine to advance in the search. We are impressed with the quality of candidates and pleased to see the level of interest in this search.

Over the next month, the board will learn more about these candidates, and plans to interview semi-finalists on Feb. 27 and 28. The list of finalists, including their names, resumes and photos, will be released to the public the evening of Feb. 28. The finalists will make campus visits to the University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Southeast over the following several days, March 1-3. University of Alaska faculty, staff and students, as well as UA friends and community leaders, will have an opportunity to meet with the finalists and provide feedback to the regents about their impressions. We will provide video links to rural sites as much as we can arrange.

The schedule is indeed compressed and even aggressive. However, the board must accommodate spring breaks at both UAA and UAF, March 8-12, as well as spring break at UAS, March 15-19. The board also would like to limit travel expenses for semi-finalists and finalists as much as possible. We believe scheduling the campus visits immediately after the semi-finalist interviews is a cost-effective approach.

As you may recall, our search began last September with an extended visit by Dr. Elaine H. Hairston, senior consultant with Academic Search of Washington D.C. After visits to campuses and telephonic meetings, Dr. Hairston drafted a presidential profile that we posted on the UA presidential search Web site for comments. Many of these comments were incorporated into the final document, which the Board of Regents endorsed. Advertisements appeared broadly throughout November. Additionally, Dr. Hairston spent two months developing the pool fully by communicating with a very large number of people, both within and outside Alaska.

The board thanks all of you who actively supported our work. Many of you nominated candidates, others made positive suggestions regarding the profile, and still more offered their thoughts and assistance. Your support of the University of Alaska increases our confidence that we will choose an exceptional new president.

We'll continue to keep you posted at major steps in the search process. Look to the presidential search Web site for details including schedules of the finalists' campus visits and specific information about the finalists once they are announced.

-- Cynthia Henry, Board of Regents Chair, Feb. 1, 2010

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