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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA Presidential Search Committee talks expectations for President Hart’s successor

Daniyal Arshad

Vice Chair Bill Ridenour speaks at the UA Presidential Search Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday, Nov. 16, in the Student Union Memorial Center. The committee has begun discussions with prospects to replace current UA president Ann Weaver Hart.

The UA Presidential Search Advisory Committee met on Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. to deliberate what skill sets and qualities the next president should bring to the university and community.

Regent Ron Shoopman said the next UA president needs to be seen as a leader in multiple constituencies.

According to Shoopman, this entails having the ability to communicate successfully with all areas of people that affect campus, from students to donors to businesses.

RELATED: Hart: ‘Sometimes it’s time to move on

Melinda Burke, president of UA Alumni Association, said the presidential search needs to be dealt with haste, and that she also wants prospects to be people who share the UA’s interest in maintaining diversity on campus.

She said she met with 16 businessmen and women who stressed the importance of having a university president with the ability to make business partnerships.

“Tucson cannot be a great city without a strong UA,” said Mara Aspinall, committee member and president, CEO of Health Catalysts.

Health Catalysts is a firm that encourages the growth of healthcare companies and Aspinall said she heard this quote from multiple business people and retirees.

Sarah Netherton, former Graduate and Professional Student Council president and current nursing graduate student said students have expressed their desire for the next president to be accessible to the student body, not just to business people.

“Students don’t like thinking about the university as a business, but because that is a huge part of the way we function, I think it would behoove us to start that discussion, so when a candidate comes in, there’s not a lot of backlash from students,” Netherton said.

Dennis Minano, a committee member and retired vice president of public policy and chief environmental officer for General Motors said he has been told to “move with great dispatch” regarding the presidential search.

“There are skill sets in terms of business and financial acumen that are essential,” Minano said.

He said there is a necessity to understand the total academic setting in a university and the importance of the athletic aspect of the university.

RELATED: Arizona Board of Regents announces presidential search committee to help find Hart’s successor

Erica Corral, associate professor of materials science and engineering said the next president needs to have a familiarity with what it’s really like to be involved in the research field since the UA is such a research focused university.

Shoopman said he was impressed by a presidential prospect’s optimism in his outlook on growing the cooperation effort between the UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University during a conversation with him.

According to Shoopman, the prospect said he would want to work with the other two Arizona universities to give the state three great universities.

Board President Eileen Klein said the name of the model aiming to have all three Arizona universities work together is coined the Enterprise Model. She said they have to find the right leader who will thrive in that type of environment.

Bill Ridenour, board member and chairman of the committee said they are still in the process of completing a candidate pool.

The presidential search committee will continue their efforts this Thursday and Friday. Ridenour said five hours of their meeting Friday will be entirely devoted to discussing the challenges and opportunities facing the search committee as they attempt to close the gap in their race to find the next UA president.

Follow Jessica Suriano on Twitter.

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