Independent search firm shares timeline for UMN presidential search

Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates said the search is tentatively scheduled to last 14 weeks.

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents hears a presentation from University of Minnesota-Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Klause at McNamara Alumni Center on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018.

Ellen Schmidt

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents hears a presentation from University of Minnesota-Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Klause at McNamara Alumni Center on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018.

Katrina Pross

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents held a special meeting Thursday to discuss the search for the next University president.

Last month, University President Eric Kaler announced he will step down as president next July. The selected third-party search firm Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates gave a presentation at the meeting and the board amended Kaler’s employment contract. 

Kaler will serve as president until June 30 and will then become President Emeritus for one year to aid in the next president’s transition and fundraising. He will then take a six-month paid “transitional leave,” before assuming a faculty position in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.

The board approved the contract amendments by a 10-2 vote with Regents Richard Beeson and Dean Johnson voting against the contract changes. Beeson declined to comment on his voting decision. 

Kaler was voluntarily not present at the meeting to limit his influence on the decision. 

“Since we are talking about [Kaler’s] contract and his successor we thought it best that he attend to [other] business,” said Regent David McMillan.

The search process is tentatively scheduled to span 14 weeks, and the search firm will work with University Regents and the Search Advisory Committee made up of University personnel to make their recommendations. 

The chair and leader of the Search Advisory Committee will be a University regent, McMillan said.

Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates will lead the recruiting process and seek out candidates for the position. 

“The best candidates never really apply, they have to be coaxed into it,” said Alberto Pimentel, managing partner of Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates.

Pimentel said the firm will seek candidates that come from diverse backgrounds and have demonstrated leadership capabilities.

The market for top university administrators is currently competitive as several large universities, including the University of Colorado, University of Connecticut and University of Southern California, are also searching for new presidents, Pimentel said.  

Pimentel said he hopes to meet with the search committee in September after its members are selected to discuss what the committee wants in a new president. 

After the presidential candidate finalists are selected, the board will make its final decision. 

Several regents voiced their wishes for the next University president.

Regent Darrin Rosha said the next president should seek the position because they have a passion for public service and the university, not solely because of the large salary. 

“We should seek a candidate who is as much or more committed to advancing the mission of the University and serving our students and the state than securing personal financial well-being,” Rosha said. 

Regent Randy Simonson said the next president should take greater Minnesota into account and support agriculture. Adding, the next president should focus on ways to lower tuition.