U of M hopes to have interim president as soon as next month

Published 4:45 pm Friday, April 21, 2023

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By Peter Cox, Minnesota Public Radio News

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents honed in on a process for naming an interim president for the university.

The board outlined a timeline, requirements, desired characteristics and salary range.

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They’re looking to fill the shoes of outgoing President Joan Gabel, who announced earlier this spring she’s leaving to take the chancellor job at the University of Pittsburgh.

Her last working day at the university will likely be in early June.

“No one could have anticipated the course of events that have transpired over the 17 days,” Board Chair Janie Mayeron said at the opening of Thursday’s meeting. She herself is new to the leadership position, moving up from vice chair — a position she’s held for about four months — when Ken Powell stepped down last week.

“Nevertheless, since learning that President Gabel will be leaving shortly, the board has marshaled all of its resources to plan and execute today’s meeting,” she said.

Mayeron promised “open and transparent communication” moving forward in this process.

Among the decisions made, the board is aiming to name an interim president by May 5.

The board’s desired characteristics include the interim not seeking the permanent position, having a skill set that would work well both in advancing priorities with the legislature and in promoting the university’s best interests in a possible Fairview Health and Sanford Health merger.

The board decided to open up the application process to both internal and external candidates. Board Chair Mayeron said the hope is to have an application process outlined and posted in the next few days.

The board will select finalists during a meeting in the coming weeks and will choose those finalists during a public meeting, using numbers or letters to refer to candidates at that stage in the process.

When finalists are selected, their names will be public. The board will select one of the finalists at its final meeting on the matter.

The board decided that a president should both be in place before Gabel leaves but also before the Legislature adjourns.