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Volume 69, Issue 94, Thursday, February 19, 2004


Search is in a 'public phase'

Committee is gathering information, input on provost hopefuls

By Dusti Rhodes
The Daily Cougar

There are no votes to be tallied and no deadlines to be met, but many questions still have to be answered before UH's provost search committee can make its recommendations.

"Right now, we are at a very serious stage of information gathering and evaluation," Ted Estess, the committee's chairman and dean of The Honors College, said.

The 17-member committee is charged with selecting and screening no less than three candidates for UH President Jay Gogue to consider for the provost position, which was vacated in September.

Four candidates are left from the original group of six: Richard Edwards of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Cristina González of the University of California, Davis; Charles Louis of Georgia State University; and Luanna Meyer of Massey University in New Zealand.

Estess said it is possible all four could make the final list.

Although the search will remain open until the position is filled, Estess said the committee's full attention is focused on evaluating the four candidates. He said Gogue hasn't set a deadline because he wants the committee to move at a "deliberate and careful pace."

The search process is now in what Estess called the "public phase," during which committee members are allowed to contact anyone with connections to the candidates. 

Estess said that in the early stages of such a search, it is customary to only contact the candidates and people listed on their résumés.

The public phase is necessary, he said, in order to find out how the candidates have worked for, and with, their past employers and to get peer opinions.

Forms were available for the UH community to share their opinions of the candidates, and Estess said getting that input is a helpful part of the selection process.

Search committee member Anne Jacobson, a professor of philosophy and engineering, agreed that feedback is essential.

"I think the search advisory committee has a very strong sense that we cannot make the best judgments all by ourselves," Jacobson said.

Jacobson said the committee met to review campus input and may soon deliver a report to Gogue. She said that in reviewing the candidates, shared governance, research and diversity were the areas that needed the most attention. 

"It is a lot to ask for strength in three areas, but in fact, there are many connections among these three," she said.

Student Government Association President Dawona Miller, who also sits on the committee, said she was looking for a candidate who could increase the value of a UH degree without a substantial increase in tuition and fees.

Miller said the candidates who were honest about the possibility of a tuition increase impressed her. She said she was most impressed with Louis because of his genuine answers backed up the explanations of his intentions.

The committee has not yet announced any candidates for consideration or set a timeline for its decision.

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