The search is on for next president

Consultant Bill Funk met with the Board of Regents on Thursday to start the process.

by Luke Feuerherm

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents launched the search Thursday for President Bob BruininksâÄô successor, who they hope to select by the end of the year. The board questioned Bill Funk of R. William Funk & Associates, a higher education consulting firm, on how the search will be conducted and whether it should be done publically or not. âÄúWe have an exciting but difficult and intensive task ahead of us,âÄù Board Chairman Clyde Allen said. âÄúItâÄôs an important transition at this University becauseâĦwe cannot afford to lose the momentum that we have going for us here. We have many good things going for us alongside the financial stress.âÄù Funk has been in town this week speaking to regents and other University community members about how they would like a search to be conducted and the result they would like to see. At the meeting, the board said the search would be national and that candidates from both inside and outside the University would be evaluated for the position. When asked, Funk didnâÄôt rule out looking internationally as well, but recommends candidates familiar with the American education system. The board also asked Funk if he preferred a public search, where potential candidatesâÄô names would be released, or a private one. He said both have their advantages, but that a private search allows the University to attract other college presidents who would otherwise be hesitant to publicly announce they are seeking other positions. This will be the third search Funk has assisted the University with, including the 2002 hiring of Bruininks. FunkâÄôs website boasts that his agency has helped select over 70 current university presidents, which includes the search that moved former University President Mark Yudof to the University of California system. He also expressed concern at the meeting over the rising level of compensation for presidents, which has led to contracts as high as $1 million. At the boardâÄôs June meeting, regents will select an advisory committee which will narrow the wide pool of candidates for the board to choose from later in the year. Bruininks will step down at the conclusion of the 2011 academic year. He plans to return to a faculty position.