Applications open for 2013 regents positions

Council members are looking for diversity, experience and commitment.

by Emily Mongan

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents is looking to fill four vacancies in 2013.

The Regent Candidate Advisory Council is now accepting applications for the four positions — one to serve Minnesota’s fifth congressional district, two at-large and one student at-large.

The RCAC is comprised of 24 members of the public tasked with screening the applicants, conducting public interviews and recommending two to four candidates for each position to a joint convention of the legislature.

Although the RCAC reaches out to individuals they believe to be ideal candidates, the applications are open to anyone who feels qualified for the position.

Each regent serves on an unpaid, volunteer basis and spends roughly 40 hours a month on regent business.

“Someone has to be willing to serve. The commitment to be a regent is a very, very large sacrifice,” said Pat Duncanson, the chair of the RCAC. “You need to be willing to serve to the greater good of the state and the greater good of the University.”

The student at-large position is unique from the other three in that the applicant must be a student at the time of appointment.

Duncanson said while graduate students with more experience at the University tend to apply more often, “there’s no reason at all that an undergrad can’t apply either, especially undergrads who are active in student organizations.”

Applicants are judged on two categories — professional experience and personal attributes such as listening skills, ability to negotiate and the capacity to support the administration.

In a press release, the RCAC said it’s looking for applicants who “have a deep interest in higher education and an understanding of the role of the University of Minnesota as a major land-grant and research institution.”

An ideal candidate has also spent time working on governing boards of corporations or nonprofits and achieved honors in their field.

“We want people who demonstrated accomplishments in public or private life,” said David Fisher, vice chair of the RCAC. “We look for people with specialized expertise that’s needed on the board.”

Fisher added that applicants will often come from professional backgrounds including law, finance and the medical field.

Harriett Porter, who also serves as a vice chair of the RCAC, said they also seek applicants with diverse backgrounds.

“One of the things that I also feel is very, very important is that we have diversity of perspective,” Porter said. “I tend to use the phrase ‘the ability to see things through 360 degrees,’ and through the eyes of others.