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Board approves details of open presidential search

Oct. 20, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's Board of Trustees unanimously approved two resolutions laying out a process for selecting a new University president similar to that used to select the two earlier WMU presidents.

At the board's Oct. 20 meeting, Trustee Ken Miller of Kalamazoo, who will lead the search, brought for the board's approval a resolution that laid out the process to be followed. That process includes the hiring of a search firm, as well as an advisory role for a 14-member campuswide committee to assist the board in its search for the University's eighth president.

After the resolution passed, Miller asked his fellow trustees to approve a second resolution outlining the board's commitment to an open search process in which a final pool of what could be three to five candidates is publicly identified, and they are brought to campus to participate in open forums that will give the community an opportunity to meet them and hear their views. That process is similar to one used by WMU in presidential searches that resulted in the hiring of Dr. Diether H. Haenicke and Dr. Elson S. Floyd in 1985 and 1998, respectively.

In addition to the resolutions, the board also approved the makeup of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. Formation of the committee was announced last month with the names of 12 members. Since then, two additional members have been added. They are Dr. Nora Berrah, professor of physics, and Dr. Katherine Joslin, professor of English. The committee chair is Miller and the vice chair is Trustee Larry Tolbert, also of Kalamazoo.

Miller expressed his gratitude to committee members for agreeing to serve.

"We all realize the scrutiny we're going to be under and the importance of the search to the University," he said. "I made 14 calls asking people to serve and received 14 positive responses. I am delighted at the willingness to be part of this effort that is so important."

In discussion centered on the search process, Miller announced the committee has met twice, is close to recommending a search firm, and expects in the coming weeks to hold open forums to solicit input from the campus and community about the needs of the University and the qualities and characteristics the next president should have.

In addition to Miller and Tolbert, the WMU Presidential Search Advisory Committee members are:

Rosana Alsaud, chair of the Graduate Student Advisory Committee

Dr. Nora Berrah, professor of physics

Wil B. Emmert, contracts and grants specialist and president of the Administrative Professional Association

George A. Franklin, trustee emeritus

Andrew K. Hooley, junior political science major and vice president of the Western Student Association

Dr. Katherine Joslin, professor of English

Dr. Thomas L. Kent, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Mary D. Lagerwey, associate professor of nursing and president of the Faculty Senate

Larry Lueth, president of First National Bank

Robert G. Miller, associate vice president for community outreach

Dr. Cindee Quake-Rapp, chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy and chair of the Organization of Chairs, Heads and Directors

Dr. Paul T. Wilson, associate professor of teaching, learning and leadership and president of the WMU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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