University of Minnesota to pay $200K in president search

Published 7:30 pm Sunday, August 12, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents will pay a search firm $200,000 to help land a new president.

University President Eric Kaler is retiring in about 11 months. Regents are working with Storbeck, Pimentel & Associates to find a new president, Minnesota Public Radio reported. The firm said the best candidates for the job rarely apply for the position and have to be “coaxed into it.”

The university has created a website as part of the search. People can submit nominations to the search committee, which will include regents, faculty, students, staff, alumni, benefactors and other community members. Committee members will be announced next month.

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The search firm estimates that the process will take about three and a half months once the search committee is in place.

Regent Randy Simonson said he hopes to find a president who knows the state’s agriculture and is able to make connections to a growingly diverse rural Minnesota. Regent Darrin Rosha hopes to find a candidate who isn’t looking for a large salary and views the position as public service.

Students want someone who will support issues that are important to the student body, such as tuition, sexual violence on campus and student mental health, said Mina Kian, the incoming vice president for the Minnesota Student Association.

“Someone who has a very student-centric opinion on how they need to govern our institution, somebody who prioritizes a lot of the topics that students collectively have been working to advocate for,” Kian said.

The faculty senate executive committee is most interested in a leader who has experience as a teacher and in a leadership role at a similar institution, said Joseph Konstan, the head of the faculty senate. The committee was torn on the idea of having a former business leader head the university and was hesitant about having a political figure, he said.

“I think we have a lot of concern that even though there are examples of political leaders who have been successful, that we don’t think that’s probably the right fit for this university of this state,” he said.