Advisers Continue Search for New UC Figurehead

    The search for a new UC system president continued last week
    when a special advisory committee composed of several regents met in a closed
    session via teleconference to discuss potential candidates for the position.

    The committee, led by UC Board of Regents Chairman Richard
    Blum, was formed in mid-August, shortly following current president Robert C.
    Dynes’ announcement of his intent to resign from office in June 2008, or when
    his replacement is found.

    Dynes, who began his tenure in October 2003 as the 18th
    president of the University of California, will be taking a one-year paid
    administrative leave before returning to a full-time faculty position at UCSD.
    Reflecting on his time as president in a letter to university academics and
    staff, Dynes cited several accomplishments achieved throughout his term,
    including heightened transparency and public accountability, the retention of
    national laboratory contracts and the establishment of the UC Merced campus. He
    also addressed areas in which his presidency had been weak, citing ethnic and
    gender diversity among the university’s senior administration as his chief
    concern.

    A report by independent consulting firm the Monitor Group
    released shortly before Dynes announced his resignation provided more severe
    critiques of his leadership, however, saying that inflexibility to change,
    unnecessary duplication of jobs and public distrust of the university are among
    its most pressing problems.

    Dynes also announced that UC Provost Wyatt R. Hume would act
    as the university’s chief operating officer until Dynes’ tenure is officially
    over.

    Following the Oct. 5 meeting, Blum commented on the advisory
    committee’s progress and its efforts to involve a broad spectrum of the
    university populous in the process.

    “The search for the new president is proceeding,” Blum said.
    “Over the past month, the regents’ committee has had the opportunity to meet
    with advisory groups representing the various constituencies within the UC
    community. We have also begun to hear their ideas about candidates.”

    As outlined in university policies on presidential
    appointments, the regents’ advisory committee is required to “consult broadly
    with constituent groups of the university from across all 10 campuses.” These
    include advisory committees representing and composed of faculty, students,
    staff and alumni, each of which is allowed up to 13 members, appointed by a
    constituency official. The regents’ committee has also sought input from campus
    chancellors and systemwide vice presidents.

    “These conversations have been an illuminating and
    productive starting point and this dialogue will continue as the process moves
    forward in the coming months,” Blum said.

    Dynes himself emphasized the importance of such
    consultations, as well as the need for general involvement of the UC community
    in the selection process at a meeting of the Berkeley Divisional Academic
    Senate on Oct. 4.

    “In my opinion, it’s very important that the faculty, staff
    and students play a very active role in the choice of the next UC president,”
    Dynes said.

    In addition to consultations with students and faculty, the
    regents’ advisory committee has sought to employ an independent search firm to
    assist in the process of identifying qualified candidates for president. Sept.
    21 marked the deadline for these firms to bid for the opportunity, and the
    advisory committee will announce its decision at a later date. According to UC
    Office of the President spokesman Trey Davis, the firm will be concerned with
    the coordination of the recruitment process, although names of potential
    candidates can be submitted from any source.

    “We’ll be hiring the search firm later this month,” Davis
    said. “These are human resource consulting firms that assist corporations and
    institutions in identifying potential candidates for senior management
    positions.”

    University policy dictates that the regents’ advisory
    committee be comprised of 11 system officials, including by default Gov. Arnold
    Schwarzenegger, Systemwide Alumni Associations President Eleanor Brewer, former
    Board of Regents Chairman Gerald L.
    Parsky and student Regent Benjamin Allen.

    In addition to those serving on the committee by default,
    Blum chose six members of the UC Board of Regents to be included in the
    selection process.

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