The Crimson White

No deadline set in search for president

Taylor Holland

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There has not yet been any discussion about the search for Robert Witt’s permanent successor, said Kellee Reinhart, spokeswoman for the Board of Trustees.

“Each process is tailored to the needs of the specific circumstances,” Reinhart said.

When Andrew Sorenson stepped down as University of Alabama president to become president at the University of South Carolina in 2002, a presidential search committee was formed to find his replacement, and Barry Mason, the former dean of the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, was named interim president.

Sorenson left UA on April 30, and the 21-member search committee met for the first time on Sept. 19. The group was comprised of two system trustees, 10 faculty members, two students and seven alumni.

In mid-January, the search committee delivered a list of candidates to then-Chancellor Malcolm Portera, who released the list to the public. The next step, Reinhart said at the time, “includes on-campus interviews with faculty, students, staff and community leaders.”

When the interviews were completed, Portera planned to make his recommendations to the Board of Trustees, who would then meet publicly to elect the next president of the University, Reinhart said in a Jan. 15, 2003 article in The Crimson White.

On Jan. 17, the Board announced that Witt was the sole finalist for the position, and on Jan. 22, Witt made remarks and fielded questions from the UA community at Bryant Conference Center.

The Board of Trustees named Witt the University’s 36th president on Jan. 27 and also announced they had considered more than 150 candidates for the position.

Other universities follow similar procedures for naming a president, and the process can take a year or longer.

The process to select Auburn president Jay Gogue took about a year, Auburn Director of Public Affairs Brian Keeter said. Auburn’s selection process is spearheaded by the Board of Trustees, with the help of advisory committees at the trustees’ discretion.

“In the last presidential search, student and faculty representatives were members of the search and selection committee,” Keeter said.

The University of Florida Board of Trustees selects their president with input from students and other members of the UF community, said Ron Wayne, the news desk editor of the UF News Bureau.

Wayne said the board’s search committee solicits applications and reviews them, narrowing the list to finalists who visit the campus to meet with students and faculty. Students play a large role in the selection process at Florida, Wayne said.

“The Student Government president is a voting member of the Board of Trustees,” Wayne said. “Also, top candidates typically meet with student groups and in forums for students.”

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No deadline set in search for president