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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wanted:

A physical candidate to become the next long-term UA president is still months away, but the Arizona Board of Regents is already detailing the qualifications necessary for the job.

The regents released a draft proposal outlining a set of desirable leadership characteristics for the next UA president ahead of a search committee meeting on Wednesday.

The criteria includes a continued commitment to increasing university diversity, necessary knowledge to interact with elected officials and a strong background in both academia and managerial or leadership positions. In total, the document outlines 26 separate provisions, divided into leadership qualifications and those pertaining to a potential applicant’s experience and background.

Regent Rick Myers, one of the chairs of the presidential search committee, said the draft still has to be presented to all relevant parties to gather their input.

“There’s more work to be done on it,” Myers said. “We’re going to reach out and gather various viewpoints as we refine it.”

Myers said the number one attribute necessary for a new president is strong leadership skills in a variety of areas.

“They need to be a multifaceted leader,” Myers said. “Someone who can manage all the different aspects of the university from athletics to academics to research, but also strategically leverage the university in a way that helps the state.”

Regent and former Arizona Sen. Dennis DeConcini, the other chair of the search committee, echoed the point, saying the document was a skeleton of things to come, and had already gone through several revisions by the regents. He also said it was unlikely that the regents would find a candidate who embodies every characteristic.

“If you found someone who had all that, you’d have someone close to God, I guess,” DeConcini said. “That’s what we strive for … someone with most, if not all of those characteristics listed there, but overall it’s just a guideline to people that apply, and at least gives us a pool of the items we think are crucial to a new president.”

DeConcini said that, while a background in academics and an understanding of the UA’s research strengths and enterprise is important, it’s also necessary to find someone who can market the UA effectively.

“We need somebody who has that understanding of how do you market in a way to make the university a more prominent research center but also to bring more funds to the university and to build economic development for the state of Arizona,” he said.

James Allen, the president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, said he agreed with the majority of the provisions of the document, but that he would push to emphasize that financial problems facing the university cannot be placed on the backs of students alone. He also said it was important to continue in the UA’s tradition of shared governance, taking input from students and faculty members into account when decisions are made.

Both DeConcini and Myers said it was important for a candidate to understand shared governance, with Myers calling it “one of the UA’s biggest strengths.” DeConcini, however, said it was equally important to understand that a candidate might have different views on how best to apply the policy.

“Shared governance is a long-standing thing that’s been very good,” DeConcini said. “But today’s a different world than it was 10 years ago, 15 years ago, and in today’s world you have to be more competitive, and sometimes that means you have to have different focuses.”

The draft document will be reviewed during a meeting of the presidential search committee this Wednesday in the “Swede” Johnson building on campus, but Myers said there is still work to be done and that this is just one step in the search process.

“But our intent is constant, to do the absolute best job we can for the university,” he said.

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