CARBONDALE — The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees discussed the presidential search structure and process Tuesday during a special meeting at the SIUC Student Center.
After taking action on a few agenda items, the board went into closed session — which lasted nearly three hours — to discuss the presidential search.
The search is for a replacement for former SIU President Randy Dunn, who resigned in as part of an agreement with the Board of Trustees.
Board Chairman Amy Sholar said the board will work with two consultants during the search.
“The board has worked very hard and very well on some internal issues," she said. "We are in the process of working with two external consultants. AGB (Association of Governing Boards) is helping us develop and assess our government structure. Bryan Cave is working with us in terms of a management and system review and audit, so to speak."
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The firms will help the board assess the system’s strengths and weaknesses and help them develop some best practices. Sholar said the board needs to make sure their “house is in order” to attract the best candidates, so that the new president can successfully and effectively lead the system.
“While we are working with these external firms, we, as a board, will start developing the road map for the presidential search,” Sholar said.
She added that they have documents from the board secretary and historical references, but the board also has the ability to chart its own course.
“So, we are going to take our time and we are going to look at this very carefully. We are beginning that process now, and it will be ongoing throughout the rest of the year,” Sholar said.
In the past, searches have taken about seven months. Sholar expects this presidential search to exceed that timeframe. She hopes to have a new president in place before the start of the Fall 2019 semester.
Interim President Kevin Dorsey was asked if he would like be a candidate, but responded that his preference was to return to teaching.
Several of those who spoke expressed confidence in Sholar’s leadership, as well as the need to take time to find the right candidate.
“We need to make this presidential search attractive so we can get a strong pool of qualified candidates who want to come here and run the system with these three wonderful campuses we have. We are starting the process but it will take some time,” said Trustee Phil Gilbert.
Fellow board member Randal Thomas echoed that
"I have full confidence in your direction," he said.
Trustee Marsha Ryan congratulated Sholar on a “well done” meeting.
“I believe we are doing the very rewarding work of piecing this board back together on behalf of the system. It has been a pleasure to see the spirit in which this board and the system are moving forward. We are in very good places,” Ryan said. “We invite the active, positive participation of everyone throughout the organization.”
Tom Britton said it would be a mistake for the board to not take advantage of the opportunity to pull things back together.
“Pursuing goals for the university in a deliberate thoughtful way is the pathway to a successful future,” he said.
“We don’t want to rush. Hopefully, our next president, we will have that person for years to come,” Shirley Portwood said.
The board also discussed a progress report on a funding allocation study. They could take two potential paths to bids: A formal bid process, which is highly regulated by the State Procurement Code and required on projects of more than $100,000. This process was determined to be extremely difficult to develop a feasible forma bid process that allowed board discretion in selecting a consultant.
The board decided to pursue bids through an informal request for proposals in which potential consultants are asked to respond with a plan to complete the project. The informal process is not regulated the State Procurement Code, allows the board to have more input and is restricted to projects costing less than $100,000.
Work then began to develop an RFP for an informal bid process. Three viable consultants were identified with an interest in bidding, NCHEMS, AGB and MGT of America.
During the meeting they also:
• Voted to approve the appointment of Dr. Andrew Balkansky, a professor in the department of anthropology at SIU Carbondale, to interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He has served at associate dean since 2017. His salary will be $171,900, effective Aug. 15.
• Voted to approve the appointment of Cindy Buys as interim dean in the School of Law. Buys holds the rank of professor of law and is the director of International Law Programs in the School of Law. She joined the faculty of the law school in 2001. Her salary will be $222,000, effective Aug. 15, 2018.
• Voted to purchase a new digital color press and associated items for Printing and Duplicating Services. The press will be purchased from HP Indigo of American of Boise, Idaho, for $882,218.70.
• An item to approve a permanent easement to Ameren Illinois for an underground gas pipeline to cross property on the Edwardsville campus was withdrawn.
The board’s next meeting will be Sept. 13 in Edwardsville.