Thursday, August 11, 2011

Expand, Please: UA President Search Problem

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 11:00 AM

When we first interviewed former U.S. Senator and Regent Dennis DeConcini about the Arizona Board of Regents' search process for the UA's next president, he said the process would be a little different compared to past searches — the committee representation would be "smaller":

Based on DeConcini's past experience with searches, he says the final search committee will not be as large "as the case when Shelton was picked. That committee was over 30 people. A number of us would like to keep it smaller."

That previous committee included 36 people representing different constituencies—business, Native American, Latino, women, contractors who work with the UA and others. This time, instead, input will be sought via e-mail and smaller committee groups.

"We will reach out to all these entities, even though they are not going to be on the committee. We will start with the website and the e-mail. Tell us what you want. We will look at it, not trash it or delete it," he says.

On Aug. 5, ABOR announced the appointment of a 23-member search committee:

Regent Dennis DeConcini, co-chair; Regent Rick Myers, co-chair; Edith Auslander, former Regent; former Vice President and Senior Associate to the President, UA; James Allen, UA Student Body President; Melinda Burke, UA Alumni Association President and Executive Director;Dr. J.C. Mutchler, Associate Professor and History Program Director, UA South;Andy Groseta, President, Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association;Karl Eller, President & CEO, The Eller Company; UA Alumnus; Angela Gomez, President of the UA Staff Advisory Council Executive Board; Dr. Leslie Tolbert, Vice President for Research, Graduate Studies and Economic Development, UA; Gary Jones, President, Arizona Earth Works; Science Foundation Arizona Board Member;Dr. Ned Norris, Jr., Chairman, Tohono O’odham Nation;Glenn P. Howell, Pima Community College Athletics, Assistant Football Coach Strength and Conditioning;Dr. John Paul Jones III, Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, UA; Governor Jan Brewer (Ex-Officio Member of ABOR);Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal (Ex-Officio Member of ABOR); Regent Ernest Calderón; Regent Mark Killian; Regent Bob McLendon; Regent LuAnn Leonard; Regent Anne Mariucci; Regent William Holmes; Regent Tyler Bowyer.

Not everyone is happy about this list of search committee members, and they aren't even pointing out the fact that the list includes Huppenthal, Brewer and few others. The Graduate and Professional Student Council at the UA wants to be included and feels it has some UA policy backing their request:

The Graduate and Professional Students at the University of Arizona take issue with the lack of adequate representation on the 23-member UA presidential search committee. We believe that this omission is unjustified and detrimental to the search process, in that it violates our traditional shared governance and leaves critical contributors to academic excellence without a voice.

The University of Arizona has a tradition of shared governance that acknowledges the value of faculty, staff and student input in the decision process. Both the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA) and the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) are named as groups recommended for consultation in administrative decisions [1]. The Faculty Senate and Shared Governance Review Committee have also specifically recommended that graduate and undergraduate student representatives be included in “the selection and review of administrators” [2].

The importance of graduate student involvement is clearly recognized by ongoing searches at other top universities. For example, the recently completed University of Washington (a UA peer) search was conducted by a 17-member committee that included graduate and undergraduate representatives.

Post baccalaureate students provide the foundation for UA's tradition of research excellent. Our population is integral to the UA’s status as a Research I university. We all have a common vested interest in the continued prowess of the UA as a top research institution that can attract competitive and productive graduate students and retain world-class faculty. Administrators, faculty and graduate students all play vital roles in achieving this goal, but this is not reflected in the structure of the search committee. Law and Medical students are also fundamental to the UA mission yet not represented on the search committee.

We urge the Arizona Board of Regents to reconsider the stakeholder role of graduate and professional students in the search process and grant the GPSC’s request for a representative.



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