The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents on Friday took steps to advance the search for CU’s next president, expanding the search committee’s composition to be more inclusive, adopting changes to the policy that will guide the search and choosing a search committee chair.
The board voted unanimously to name Regent Lesley Smith the search chair. Smith, a former CU Boulder research scientist, has served on the board since 2019 and was the Vice Chair 2020-21.
“Choosing a president is perhaps the most important responsibility for the Board of Regents,” Smith said after the vote during Friday’s board meeting at 1800 Grant St. “It is incumbent upon the board to conduct a search that is inclusive, trusted and embodies the spirit of our four campuses. The board is determined to take the time needed to find the best candidate, one who can inspire our community and lead CU at a challenging time for higher education.”
Smith and Board Chair Jack Kroll promised a transparent, inclusive search for the next leader of the CU system.
“Our next president must be a visionary, inclusive, transparent and inspiring leader, someone who will uphold the university’s values, work collaboratively across our campuses, advocate for our mission and ensure that the University of Colorado remains a leading public research university with a diverse community,” Kroll said in a message to the CU community. “We are confident that we will find such a candidate at the conclusion of this search and are committed to keeping you informed throughout the process.”
The board also voted to expand the search committee’s composition to be more inclusive of the university community and support the board’s commitment to diversity. Regents will determine the size of the committee, but it must include two students (one graduate and one undergraduate), two staff members and one member of the CU Foundation Board of Directors.
Other changes to the policy stress a commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout the process, from the selection of search committee members to choosing candidates for president.
Regents set a 30-day deadline for nominations to the search committee once the board announces the process has begun. Nominees must provide professional qualifications, tell why they’re interested and promise they have no conflict of interest.
Board members continue to meet with stakeholders across the university and around the state to discuss the qualities of CU’s next president. A just-launched website invites input and feedback on the presidential search via a comment submission page. Updates on search progress will be posted at the site as well.
Regents next will hire a search firm and request nominations for the search committee, which “will include diverse representatives of CU’s key constituent groups and members of our community,” Kroll said.