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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

ABOR’s presidential search progresses

UA+President+Ann+Weaver+Hart+in+her+office+inside+Old+Main+on+Wednesday%2C+April+27.
Tom Price
UA President Ann Weaver Hart in her office inside Old Main on Wednesday, April 27.

President Ann Weaver Hart announced earlier this summer she would not be asking the Arizona Board of Regents to renew her contract via an employee-wide email and a regent’s press release. 

While the regents have said the new president could start as early as next summer, Hart’s contract doesn’t end until 2018. 

This leaves the board a little under two years to find a qualified applicant to take her place. 

The board, who emphasized their support for Hart’s decision, have said they will conduct a comprehensive nationwide search for President Hart’s replacement, according to the regents’ press release. 

Recently, the board has named regents Bill Ridenour and Ron Shoopman the chair and vice chair of the search committee for the next UA president.

Both Ridenour and Shoopman have connections to the UA. 

Ridenour graduated from the UA in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts, served as student body president, was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and received his juris doctorate from the UA. 

Shoopman, a local Tucson resident, has served as the Southern Arizona Leadership Council president since 2004.

Both regents were selected by Board Chair Greg Patterson, who told the  Arizona Daily Star he chose Ridenour and Shoopman because their community connections will be able to provide the diverse perspectives he’s looking for. 

Ridenour, who was appointed to the board in 2014 and currently serves as vice chair, didn’t agree with Hart’s recent decision to accept a position with DeVry University.

In early March, Hart accepted a $70,000 position on the DeVry University Board, a for-profit college that’s being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly deceiving consumers about the value of a DeVry degree. 

Since accepting, Hart has received heavy backlash both locally and around the nation. 

Ridenour told the Daily Star he intends to change the regent’s policy that allowed Hart to accept and keep the Devry job, despite public opposition before the next UA president is hired. 

The search committee will also be compromised of external members, and the regents said they are currently in the process of determining who those members will be. 

The last time the board conducted a national search to replace a UA president was in 2011 after President Robert N. Shelton announced he was leaving. 

Before ultimately choosing Hart to be the next president, the regents formed a 23-member search committee containing UA faculty and regents, as well as student, civic and community leaders. 

Along with appointing the chair and vice-chair of the most recent search committee, the regents issued a request for proposals for an executive search consultant who can identify and recruit qualified candidates. 

Submissions for the RFP proposals are due Aug. 22—the UA’s first day of classes. 

After the regents establish the search committee and select a search firm, the regents say they will begin the search. 

The board will also develop and publish a detailed description of the president position, which will identify the essential leadership characteristics they’re looking for. 

“This leader will be one willing to tackle the challenges, bring innovative leadership and vision, and chart new achievements for the university that align with and support community, regional and statewide goals,” according to the press release.

The UA Faculty Senate sent out a survey in 2011 that asked faculty members to rank what three characteristics out of nine they felt were most important for the new UA president to have. The survey, which was intended to be a tool to give faculty a voice, was considered by the board search committee in 2011. 

The regents, who have created a tab on their website dedicated to UA presidential search news and updates, said the process of choosing the next UA president will be shared and documented with the public through regular updates online. 

“Featured items on the page as the search progresses will include documents such as frequently asked questions, updates on the search process and a place for students, faculty, staff and the public to offer input about the search,” the press release said.


Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.


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