COLORADO SPRINGS — The University of Colorado Board of Regents on Thursday added two more people to the committee that will assist in replacing President Bruce Benson and formally authorized the committee to begin its work.
The regents approved a three-page document, called a charge, that outlines their expectations for the search committee, including the qualifications committee members should look for in candidates and the time line for the search.
“On behalf of the board, I would just like to share with this audience the commitment that we have toward this charge,” said Regent Irene Griego, D-Lakewood, who is a co-chair of the search committee. “We take this charge very seriously, and my co-chair (Regent) Heidi Ganahl and I will do everything we can to make sure we represent our board as we move through this process and select the next president for the university.”
Both Griego and Ganahl, R-at large, also thanked and congratulated the committee members and expressed their excitement about the search ahead.
The presidential search will formally commence this month, according to the document, and the committee will be expected to meet with the board to review candidates in early 2019 and then recommend a minimum of five candidates by April 2019. Benson, who has been president since 2008, will retire in July, and the regents plan to appoint his replacement the same month.
The regents indicated they are looking for a collaborative leader to oversee the system, with more than 60,000 students, 30,000 employees and a $4.5 billion budget.
They emphasized that Benson’s successor should be someone who promotes board-approved policies and initiatives, including those that support diversity, financial accountability, freedom of expression and academic freedom, and access to education.
They also are seeking a candidate that sets the direction for the system, including overseeing the campus chancellors and system vice presidents; promoting CU’s role as a research university; supporting globalization and technology efforts, including online and digital education; working with policymakers; and leading major fundraising initiatives.
On Sept. 5, the regents elected Griego and Ganahl to serve as co-chairs of the search committee, and on Oct. 24 voted on 13 additional committee members. On Thursday, they unanimously approved motions to add a representative of the CU Foundation and an undergraduate student to the committee.
In back-to-back votes of 5-4, they chose Margaret Bathgate, the chair of the foundation’s board of directors and board of trustees, and Sierra Brown, a Colorado Springs student and chair of the Intercampus Student Forum.
During her regular report to the board as the chair of the intercampus forum, Brown thanked the regents for adding an undergraduate student to the search committee and said it had previously been of concern to students that undergraduates weren’t represented.
“It speaks tremendously on not only your dedication, but your attentiveness to what the students have been asking for and the concerns that they had voiced previously,” she said. “For that, I wanted to thank you, regardless of it was me or not, I think that that addition was very vital to the president search committee.”
Now that the search committee has been selected and authorized, the search firm Wheless Partners can begin posting the job and formally recruiting.
Regents on Oct. 8 announced they had selected the Alabama-based firm and agreed to pay a $99,000 flat professional fee, up to $25,000 in additional fees for expenses such as advertising, and additional money for travel expenses. The firm will advertise and recruit candidates, and the committee will evaluate the candidates, CU officials previously said.
The regents will continue their regular board meeting on the Colorado Springs campus Friday morning.
Cassa Niedringhaus: 303-473-1106, [email protected]