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Head Hunt

As chancellor search begins, leaders garner community input

Tim Wolfe and Habib Zaghouani

During a chancellor search town hall meeting in Jesse Auditorium, University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe listens to comments from Habib Zaghouani, the Edwards Chair in Pediatrics, Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the MU School of Medicine.

What sort of chancellor do Tigers want? MU leaders need to know. On the heels of the announcement that Chancellor Brady Deaton will retire Nov. 15, the search has begun for Mizzou's 22nd leader, and the University of Missouri System seeks community input about the competencies, attributes and strengths stakeholders value in chancellor candidates.

UM System President Tim Wolfe led the first of two planned public forums Monday in Jesse Auditorium, gathering guidance from MU faculty, staff, students and alumni as well as the Columbia community. The second forum is scheduled for at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 25, in Wrench Auditorium, Memorial Union. Tigers who can’t attend in person can submit comments online or take part in the Twitter discussion at #musearch.

Kristofferson Culmer

Kristofferson Culmer, a doctoral candidate in computer science, says students prefer an accessible chancellor. “Dr. Deaton has always been open and has always shown a desire to be directly in communication with students," Culmer says. "Moving forward, that’s going to need to be something our chancellor is committed to."

Wolfe says remarks collected electronically and at the town-hall-style meetings will inform both the job description for the new chancellor and the tasks assigned to the search committee, the members of which have not yet been named.

The head hunt marks the first time in two decades that Mizzou has conducted an external search for a chancellor. It’s a competitive process; Deaton’s departure coincides with chancellor and president job openings at multiple prominent public universities, including The Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Florida and Penn State.

To aid in the undertaking, the UM System has hired the firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates.

Wolfe says system leaders expect to have a new chancellor in place by the end of the fall 2013 semester but may adjust the schedule as necessary. “We will not sacrifice quality for time,” Wolfe told attendees at Monday's forum.

Chancellorial traits

Among the key characteristics forum attendees say they seek in a chancellor are a passion for educating students, a commitment to improving the university's budget outlook and an ability to represent and support Tigers at the state legislature. Other areas of focus include:

From students

  • Availability to students
  • Efforts to keep tuition costs stable
  • Commitment to service and philanthropy
  • Understanding of the importance of diversity
  • Focus on the accessibility of higher education

“Chancellor Deaton has created a bridge between the world of academia and the world of service," Missouri Students Association President Nick Droege says. "I think that should be a priority for our next chancellor."

Lisa Driskel Hawxby

Lisa Driskel Hawxby, interim director of the Opportunities in a Professional Education Network Initiative, addresses the audience. "I can't tell you how proud I am to work at the university," she says.

From faculty

  • Academic proficiency and a history of teaching excellence
  • Commitment to shared governance and faculty authority over curriculum
  • Political acumen
  • Progressive, forward-thinking mindset
  • Willingness to make changes to university culture and leadership

From staff

  • Honesty and integrity
  • Frankness
  • Humility
  • Courage
  • Transparency

Lisa Driskel Hawxby, a staff member with the Center for Family Policy and Research, has this advice: "Find the person who has the guts for the job."

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