University of Akron Agrees to Presidential Search Plan

Dec 5, 2018

The University of Akron will soon begin searching for a new president.

The search won’t be entirely in the hands of the Board of Trustees, as has been the case in the past. But the public will not know who the university is considering until the selection has been made.

At a Wednesday meeting, the UA Board of Trustees agreed to modify university rules in several key ways. First, they added 10 people to the search committee, eight of whom are current faculty, staff or students. And second, they decided to require those new participants to sign pledges of confidentiality. Those representatives won’t be allowed to share information about the search process with other faculty, staff or students, or with the public at large.

 

The Akron chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which has raised doubts about recent administrative moves like the amount of money the university is spending on the esports program, endorsed the plan last week in this video:  

The search committee will include UA’s nine trustees, who are appointed to nine-year terms by the governor’s office. (Eight of the current trustees were appointed under Gov. John Kasich.) It will also include two student trustees and two advisory trustees, who attend board meetings but do not have votes.

Additionally, the search committee will include the leaders of:

  • The University Council, whose current head is a faculty member
  • The Akron AAUP
  • The Faculty Senate
  • The Staff Employee Advisory Committee, which includes non-bargaining staff employees
  • The Contract Professional Advisory Committee, which includes contract employees
  • Undergraduate Student Government

“I believe the revision proposed today will produce a process that will help attract the widest range of high-quality candidates for the presidency while involving the campus community at an earlier stage and in more meaningful ways,” said board president Joe Gingo at Wednesday’s meeting.

UA plans to hire a search firm to identify and recruit candidates for president. This is common practice, although it can lead to even greater secrecy.

In 2014, after Kent State University selected Beverly Warren as its president, the Beacon Journal reported that search firm Storbeck Pimentel refused to disclose information about their process.

UA has not yet hired a search firm, a spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

Read more in The Devil Strip.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct information about the Kent State presidential search.