After preparation that spanned the past few years, the CU Board of Regents last week officially kicked off the search for the next CU president. The regents in October hired a search firm to assist with the process and elected a search committee, which it expanded slightly at its meeting last week in Colorado Springs.
The search commenced when the board provided a charge to the committee that detailed what the board is seeking. It is looking for a leader to be “the chief executive officer of a diverse and complex organization,” a person who recognizes the unique attributes of the four campuses while leveraging the collective power of the system. The new president will serve as chief spokesperson for CU and engage elected officials in a non-partisan manner. He or she must “lead change and innovation” while also serving as a key stakeholder in the shared governance process.
“The president must effectively communicate CU’s mission, build and strengthen relationships both within CU and with our strategic partners, generate public support for higher education, and advance CU’s research and philanthropic efforts,” according to the charge.
The regents have been refining the presidential job description and articulating the qualities they would like to see in the university’s next leader over the past few years in anticipation of a leadership transition. CU President Bruce D. Benson has announced he intends to retire from the university in July.
The regents had a get-acquainted meeting Thursday with most members of the search committee. Regents added an undergraduate student (Sierra Brown, chair of the Intercampus Student Forum, the system-wide student government organization) and a representative of the CU Foundation Board (outgoing chair Margaret Bathgate) after the board received requests to expand the committee. It now comprises 17 members, including the two regents co-chairing, Heidi Ganahl and Irene Griego. It will next meet in early December.
Members of the board said they welcome input from people inside and outside the university about what they are looking for in a president and the issues facing the university. The board also invited recommendations of people who may be right for the job.