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UK Presidential Search Winding Down

From Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio

A six month nationwide search for the next leader of the University of Kentucky is nearly complete.

From the beginning, UK Board of Trustees Chair Britt Brockman has called the presidential search timeline ambitious. President Lee Todd announced plans to retire in September. By late October, a search committee was formed. And this weekend, the trustees will go into closed session for two days, expected to emerge with the name of a preferred candidate. But Brockman says his ultimate goal is to find the right president for UK, not to stick to a schedule.

“If we had to extend the timeline another month, I’m okay with that. Or two months, whatever it takes. If something in the vetting process came up, then I have no problems slowing the process down,” he said.

The final vetting process includes meetings with the campus community on Monday. The candidate will answer questions from faculty, staff, and students. If all does go according to plan, the board will extend its formal offer on Tuesday.

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UK Presidential Search Panel To Hold Public Forums

By Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio

The University of Kentucky’s presidential search committee will host three forums Friday for the campus community. But that may be the extent of public input about UK’s next president.

UK Board of Trustees Chair Britt Brockman says hundreds of people have expressed interest or been nominated for the job. But there’s a trend among leadership positions in higher education: some candidates who already have good, high-level jobs don’t want it getting out that they’re job-hunting. So instead of three to five finalists being announced, Brockman says only one name, the board’s top pick, will be made public.

“The question you have to ask yourself is ‘Which trumps what, a process or the end result?’ I mean if the two best candidates will recuse themselves do you settle for second-best for the sake of process? And I think that’s what has to be debate this Friday at the search committee,” he said.

The presidential search committee will spend Friday morning hearing from students, faculty, and staff at campus forums. In the afternoon, members will consider just how transparent their interviews of finalists should be. The search committee’s recommendation will be passed on to the Board of Trustees, which will vote on the issue at its February meeting.

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Much Of UK Presidential Search Likely To Be Secret

By Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio

The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees has had its first meeting with the consulting firm that will assist in the search for Lee Todd’s replacement. Jan Greenwood of presidential search firm Greenwood/Asher told trustees Sunday that confidentiality is extremely important in finding a new leader for UK, and may ultimately affect which potential hires continue with the process.

“When President Todd was selected, we were at the front end nationally of seeing candidates begin to become very unwilling to be part of a public process at the end. Presidents had lost their jobs for looking at other university opportunities. They had also lost donor money, and they also had lost state legislative funding,” she said.

Greenwood says it will be up to the board to decide which interview process is used, but says one option would be to privately meet with three-to-five finalists and then announce the preferred candidate to the rest of campus. The board also spent Sunday’s meeting deciding which qualities they feel are important for the next UK president to have.

Local News

UK's Dr. Lee Todd To Retire

By Alan Lytle, Kentucky Public Radio

University of Kentucky President Lee Todd has announced he will retire from his post effective June 30th 2011.   Todd says ten years is a “nice round” number to signify the end his tenure as the university’s 11th president.

He says UK’s Top 20 Business plan that calls for the school to reach top twenty status as a research institution by 2020 will remain the goal as long as he is in charge.             

“The legislature funded that plan, and in normal times I think they would have continued. And, I am sure they would have continued to fund it because we made a good case for it. We told them how we were going to do what they asked us to do, and we laid out a path. We laid out the financing for it, and they funded it to the tune of twenty some odd million dollars,”  he said at a press conference.

Todd says he’ll continue to be an outspoken voice for educational change in Kentucky.