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Volume 68, Issue 109, Wedenesday, March 12, 2003


Student body absent from forum

By Ray Hafner
Senior Staff Writer

Students missed an opportunity Tuesday night to make their feelings known and advise the search committee that will pick the next president and chancellor for the UH System.

An open forum in the Athletics/Alumni Center heard many faculty speakers, who voiced concerns and described their ideal new President and Chancellor, but students were conspicuously absent.

Dawona Miller, the committeeis student representative, said the forum was poorly publicized and that even she didnit know students would be able to speak. Miller said she would like to see another forum during school hours at which students could address R. William Funk, the chief recruiter in the search.

Funk said the committee would present between three and five unranked finalists to the Board of Regents within the next few months. Funk said he hopes the new president would be finalized as soon as June.

"This is a very competitive process and we have to put our best foot forward," said Funk of Korn/Ferry International, an executive search firm.

Funk stressed that several universities across the country are undergoing similar searches, including the University of Washington, Emory University and the University of California System.

Faculty members stressed that the new Chancellor/President should continue to focus on UH as a research institute and begin working toward developing international recognition. Hiring and recruiting top-notch young faculty is also a high priority for the faculty members.

Peter Copeland, a geosciences professor, said the candidates should themselves be teachers and educators, "someone who understands what universities are about."

The next president will face several challenges, including a shrinking budget and expanding demands, associate English professor Maria Gonzalez said. Gonzalez also said the new president should have the skills to employ the idea of shared governance with the faculty.

Gonzalez said she wanted to see the search look at the next generation of leaders, not necessarily acting presidents or people in chief executive officer-type positions.

"Weire attempting to have as diverse a pool of candidates as possible," Funk said. Funkis company recently won an award for advancing women to high-level positions in education.

The budget cuts being imposed by the state legislature were named as a major concern in the search for top candidates.

"I think, relatively speaking, we may be in better shape than most," Funk said. "But itis tough everywhere."

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