Search in progress for new NMU president

Emily Pagel

The search for a new university president is underway as President Haynes’ interim period comes to a close. Haynes will hold his position as president until  Monday June, 30 2014.

“When I took this job I agreed to do this for two years, and I thought it extremely appropriate to do a search and I was firmly committed to doing that,” Haynes said.

Lewis
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“They promised this campus that they’d do a search and they kept their promise.

According to L. Garnett Lewis, board of trustees chair, the board publicly announced the search at the beginning of fall semester though the process unofficially started in May 2013.

The board selected Witt/Kieffer to work along side with the 11-member campus committee to help elect a new president. They were nominated to delegate and help choose the role of a new president.

Lewis said having a small search committee was essential in creating the most efficient search for a president.

“One thing that we wanted to do this time was making sure that the search committee was lean and mean if you will,” Lewis said. “In the past we’ve had up to 20 members in the search committee. As a board, we did not feel that that was an efficient way to go about selecting a president; it’s too many people.

“We wanted it to be a very manageable committee. We did our due diligence of trying to select individuals who represent all aspects of the campus and the community”

The committee consists of Sook Wilkinson as chair of the committee with additional members: Trustee Stephen Adamini; Nathan Bradbury, ASNMU; Sten Fjeldheim, NMU Nordic skiing coach; Felecia Flack, director of IT-Information Services; Alec Lindsay, associate professor of Biology; Joe Lubig, dean for teacher education and director of the School of Education; Trustee Steve Mitchell; Jane Surrell, director-prospect/advancement database management, NMU Foundation; alumna Rebecca Thompson, senior director of engagement at United Way for Southeastern Michigan; and Mary Jane Tremethick, associate dean and director of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

As with previous years, Lewis said this process is not any different from other searches for presidents and that other Michigan universities are using similar methods.

“We’re not the only institution in Michigan that’s looking for their next president, there are actually quite a few,” Lewis said.  “Saginaw Valley State University, Oakland University and University of Michigan are in the process and if you look you’ll see that they’re handling in much the similar way, whether they have an interim or not.”

The difference Lewis said is in how they are conducting the search.

“Some schools and some boards handle it different than others,” Lewis said. “If you were to go and look at the University of Michigan, they are actually doing a closed search. If you were to call them up and ask what’s going on they’d say ‘it’s a closed search.’; it’s very internal.

“Ours is very open and transparent we are going through the process of letting the institution, the community, and all the other shareholders, and everybody in the state know this is what we’re doing.”

According to Lewis, students should expect to see candidates arriving to NMU around February

after they have narrowed down candidates.

“We’ll probably narrow the pool down to 2 to 4 qualified folks that we want to invite to campus and who we want to have various groups meet and interview. I would hope that students would keep informed of what’s going on and then make it a point of participating in some of these open forums.”

Haynes said he is unsure if he is will be running as candidate for president in the following year.

“I have to see what the board wants in a president,” Haynes said. “I need to know if they are looking for a commitment for 5 years, 10 years and other factors. Since I don’t have that, I can’t make a decision.”

“I mull it over everyday and a lot of people stop me and ask,” Haynes said. “I’m hoping that both sides of the community will communicate with the committee about their thoughts in all the candidates and me.”

Haynes said the decision really comes down to what’s best for his personal life but also what’s best for Northern.

“I’ve been a big part of this campus for a really long time and I have a huge respect for the campus faculty, staff and students. I have to evaluate, with whatever decision I make: is it good for the university?”