Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Firm begins search to head UC

Company official on campus for complete profile of a new president

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A representative from an executive search firm spent all day Monday on the University of Cincinnati campus gathering input he'll use to find candidates for the job of UC president.

Charles Knapp, a partner with Atlanta-based Heidrick & Struggles, walked across campus, meeting with deans, provosts, vice presidents, alumni and faculty.

Two common themes emerged among the range of opinions: continued emphasis on academic excellence and concern over the dramatic decline in state funding over the past decade.

"Every place we have been today, the term academic excellence has come up," said Jeff Wyler, chairman of the presidential search committee and member of UC's Board of Trustees. "The other thing is the budget, the resources of the state. They are not where they used to be. And they never will be again."

The selection is a balancing act that combines academic with politician, fund-raiser with civic leader, and promoter with collaborator. Some constituents voiced concerns over an academic erosion in the College of Arts and Sciences, while others debated merits of new facilities.

The next UC president will have the right mix of qualities to address a variety of concerns, Knapp said.

"There are a large number of highly qualified people who want to be presidents of major universities," he told a group of about 30 faculty members. "But they're not all right for the University of Cincinnati. In the end, the decisions are up to the university."

It is the first time in nearly two decades that the university has searched for a new president. Joseph Steger announced his decision to retire Nov. 1. Though his contract expires in June, he has agreed to stay on as interim president until a replacement is found.

E-mail kgoetz@enquirer.com

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