CARBONDALE — Southern Illinois University Carbondale should have an interim chancellor within about a month, according to SIU Interim President J. Kevin Dorsey and the SIU board of trustees, who met in Carbondale Friday to plan the selection process.
The chosen chancellor will be looking at an interim appointment of 18 to 24 months, leading the Carbondale campus as SIU does national-level searches for a new system president and a new, permanent SIUC chancellor.
The chancellor position is vacant following the unexpected death last month of Carbondale Chancellor Carlo Montemagno.
The right candidate should be someone who can get to work quickly, has experience as an administrator at or near the chancellor level, Dorsey said, and probably doesn’t plan on competing for the permanent chancellor job once it becomes available.
“We want someone who can act and do what needs to be done rather than second-guessing themselves: ‘Will this help or hinder my chance at getting the permanent position?'" Dorsey said.
In the coming weeks, Dorsey will be “further vetting” multiple candidates, based on feedback from the board of trustees and the SIU Carbondale community about the kind of leader they’re looking for.
But don’t expect a list of finalists to be released to the public before the choice is made, Dorsey said.
The interim president will continue to listen to students, faculty and staff who want to weigh in, and the public will receive “due notice,” of the board’s choice, Board Chair Amy Sholar said. But quick action is also key.
“We want careful evaluation as quickly as possible,” Sholar said.
The board hopes to approve a candidate by its next meeting on Dec. 13.
An executive search firm called Witt/Kiefer will begin combing the ranks of higher education leaders around the country to find the next permanent SIU president as soon as a contract is finalized, the board also announced Friday.
The board is seeking a new president following Randy Dunn's July resignation after documents revealed that he worked behind the scenes to support a funding reallocation from SIU Carbondale to Edwardsville, and supported legislation to separate the two campuses.
The process will be similar to past presidential searches, with an advisory committee of SIUC and SIUE representatives helping the board of trustees pick the right candidate.
The price tag should be about one-third of the yearly salary an incoming president might receive. Dunn made a $430,000 annual salary; that means the search could run about $143,000, though the price hasn’t yet been officially negotiated.
The board and Dorsey also reiterated their support for SIU Carbondale’s academic restructuring at Friday’s meeting, a process begun Montemagno that sought to give the university a fresh look by changing the academic structure of schools, departments and colleges that compose it.
The designs for seven new schools that would be created under Montemagno’s plan should be voted on by the board at its next meeting, Sholar said.
Those proposals represent about a third of Montemagno’s proposal.
However, progress on the rest of the restructuring slowed in the run-up to Montemagno’s death, after faculty rejected some schools they weren’t satisfied with, and submitted designs of their own for two new colleges at SIUC.
After a month with no public updates on the plan, the reorganization was called “more or less stuck” at Friday’s meeting by Dave Johnson, a professor who heads the Faculty Association, an SIUC union for tenure-track and tenured faculty.
Dorsey, who has acted as chancellor of the Carbondale campus since Montemagno’s death, could not provide any updates on those pieces of the restructure.