Regents begin gathering input in advance of presidential search

Faculty Council first stop for board members who are leading listening sessions

The Board of Regents has begun engaging members of the CU community as the presidential search process is soon to begin.

Members of the board last week led their first listening session as part of the Faculty Council’s first meeting of the academic year, held Aug. 26 via Zoom.

“This is our first listening stop,” said Regent Lesley Smith, who also was joined by Regents Jack Kroll (chair), Sue Sharkey (vice chair), Glen Gallegos and Ilana Spiegel. “It will be interesting to see what threads come out most strongly among all the different groups.”

Several council members emphasized that they’d like CU’s next president to have experience and background in an academic environment; a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; and the ability to advocate for CU in boosting public opinion and securing state funding.

“It would be great to shy away from candidates that have solely business or political backgrounds, and have more academic background,” said Tamara Terzian of CU Anschutz. “We need a president that understands the dynamic and the needs of an academic environment.”

CU Denver’s Carrie Makarewicz said the next president should have a “proven commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion throughout their career, and preferably as a high-level administrator for a large university system such as ours.”

Jarrod Hanson, also from CU Denver, said “it is important for the candidate to have a system eye and to be able to foster the unique strengths of each campus.”

Cindy O’Bryant of CU Anschutz said the ideal candidate will be a strong supporter of public education who can engage community members inside and outside the university, and “someone who can be a face across Colorado, not just in Boulder or on the four campuses.”

Board Chair Kroll said a website for the presidential search will be launched soon and will provide a way for visitors to submit input for review by regents.

Board of Regents Chair Jack Kroll
Board of Regents Chair Jack Kroll

Kroll, recently elected as chair of the board, emphasized his wish to continue conversations with governance groups.

“We want to ensure we have strong shared-governance relationships,” Kroll told Faculty Council. “It’s not just the presidential search that we’re going to need to work together on. … We know that here in Colorado we have a challenge with respect to state funding.”

Beyond the systemwide Faculty Council, Smith said regents also plan to have presidential search listening sessions with individual campus Faculty Assemblies. “So there will be multiple ways faculty can give us input,” she said.

Said Jeremy Hueth, vice president, University Counsel, and secretary of the Board of Regents, “One of the board’s utmost priorities is to make sure this search process is as transparent as can be.”

The Board of Regents’ Governance Committee on Wednesday was slated to review proposed revisions to Regent Policy 3-C, which provides a framework for the presidential search. Once those changes are agreed to, the next step for the board will be to select a search firm, elect regents to lead the search committee, establish a position description and charge to the search committee, and define the search committee make-up. Most of these steps are expected to take place at the Sept. 9-10 board meeting.