By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current
Wanted: an innovative, inspirational and visionary leader with deep knowledge and experience in higher education. Someone capable of mastering the fusion of academic and administrative excellence.
Applications due by July 21, 2017. Pay to be determined.
The job application for the president’s position at the University of Montana was posted on AGB Search on Monday, opening the next chapter in the school’s effort to land a permanent leader to replace interim President Sheila Stearns.
“This is as important as any decision gets in both the management of a university and a university system,” said Kevin McRae, spokesman for the Montana University System. “It’s an historic time any time a campus executive is selected.”
The posting, created by a search committee comprised of faculty, staff and administrators, describes UM as a public doctoral university that’s devoted to providing the foundation of a liberal arts education, balanced with professional preparation in research and economic development.
The required skills include a doctorate or terminal degree from an accredited institution. Several possible applicants, including Denise Juneau – the state’s former superintendent of public instruction – have been waiting to see the qualifications set by the committee before applying.
Juneau said Tuesday she plans to review the posting fully before making a decision. Those who do apply will have their applications reviewed by the search committee. Finalists will be brought to UM for interviews.
“The search advisory committee will work with the consultant to review applications with respect to the advertised job requirements,” McRae said. “The search advisory committee then will identify a number of semi-finalists, and the semi-finalists will be narrowed down to a number of finalists for campus interviews in the fall.”
All told, the job posting includes 16 preferred qualifications, including knowledge of strategic planning, support for intercollegiate athletics and a student-first approach to education.
They also include the ability to fundraise, grow an active alumni association, attract and empower faculty and staff, and serve as the general voice and champion of the flagship institution.
“The President must bring leadership characteristics that include being genuine, open and receptive to others,” the posting suggests. “The successful candidate will be a leader who is motivating, articulate, and an expert in competencies of interpersonal and organizational awareness, boldness and creativity, responsiveness and adaptability.”
Last year, former President Royce Engstrom stepped down from the position he’d held since 2010. Sheila Stearns was appointed to fill the position on an interim basis and has been consistent in stating that she plans to step aside for the new leader by the end of this year.
The application suggests that the new president may assume office in January 2018. It adds that UM has roughly 2,900 faculty and staff who support around 12,000 students.
McRae said the job’s pay range was intentionally not included, though Stearns and Montana State University President Waded Cruzado each earn $309,000 annually.
“That’s near the lowest or perhaps is the lowest in the nation for a public doctoral research university,” McRae said. “We’re fortunate to have past experience in knowing we can find good, talented and capable leaders who are not motivated by money and look forward to the opportunity to live and work and serve Montana.”