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R203, Search Committee Appointment and Function, and Board’s Selection of Presidents of Institutions

R203-1. Purpose: To provide direction for establishing presidential search committees and for appointing of presidents in the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).

R203-2. References

2.1. Utah Code §53B-2-102, Board to Appoint President of Each Institution

2.2. Utah Code §52-4-202, Public Notice of Meetings

2.3. Utah Code §11-13-223, Open and Public Meetings

2.4. Policy and Procedures R120, Bylaws of the Board of Higher Education;, Selection of President

R203-3. Presidential Search Committees

3.1. Board is Equal Opportunity Employer: The Board of Higher Education is an equal opportunity employer. Board action to employ presidents shall be based upon selection only after extensive, national advertising of vacancies, screening of applicants, and searching for applicants without regard to race, ethnicity, color, sex, marital status, disability, national origin, veteran’s status, or religious persuasion.

3.2. Early Beginning of Search Process: Appointing presidents is one of the Board’s foremost responsibilities and the Board shall give the search process its highest priority. The Board chair shall initiate the search process as soon as practicable after a vacancy is announced. The Board may appoint an interim president during the search process if circumstances dictate.

3.3. Chair Appoints Search Committee: The Board shall establish a search committee that includes representatives of faculty, staff, students, the institution of higher education board of trustees, alumni, the outgoing institution of higher education president’s executive council or cabinet, and the Board. The search committee shall be co-chaired by a member of the Board members and the chair of the institution’s board of trustees. The search committee will include an equal number of Board members and trustees with no more than four of each body. The chair shall select the other members of the search committee with particular emphasis on ensuring that all institutions and the community are well-represented.  The Commissioner and staff shall support and manage the search process.

3.4. Recruitment: The Board, through the Commissioner, shall create a comprehensive, active recruiting plan to ensure a strong, diverse pool of potential candidates for institution of higher education presidents. The search committee may engage a consultant, as appropriate, to assist in the recruitment process.  As part of a successful recruiting plan, all Board members, trustees, search committee members, the Commissioner, presidents, vice presidents, deans, department heads, faculty, students, alumni, friends of the institution, and members of the community must seek out and nominate qualified individuals and encouraging them to apply for the position.

3.5. Duties of the Search Committee: The search committee shall meet regularly and shall by a majority vote of those present, determine and direct all activities of the committee. The committee shall host constituent meetings to seek public input regarding the qualifications of ideal candidates and explain the search process. The committee shall have the duty to establish qualifications for the position, to search for qualified individuals, to receive nominations and applications, to review the qualifications of nominees and applicants, to seek out information about nominees and applicants, to interview nominees and applicants as a committee, and to transmit to the Board the names of at least three but not more than five (5) persons who are fully qualified to serve as president of the institution. The Commissioner and his or her staff shall provide information and make confidential inquiries and give reports about each candidate to the committee.

3.6. Confidentiality: The search committee shall keep all information about applicants and nominees strictly confidential. They should exercise special care to avoid disclosure of confidential information and to protect the right of all applicants and nominees to privacy and anonymity insofar as is possible. The chair and the executive assistant/secretary shall emphasize and constantly remind all search committee members of the importance of preserving the confidentiality of all information made available to all members of the committee. The Board of Higher Education will make public the names of finalists to be interviewed by the full membership of the Board. The search committee may not forward an individual to the Board as a finalist unless two-thirds of the search committee members, as verified by the commissioner, find the individual to be qualified and likely to succeed as an institution of higher education president.

3.7. Interviews of Qualified Applicants: The search committee shall review the comprehensive files on all applicants and shall interview those applicants that appear to be qualified and show strong potential to serve as a successful president.

3.7.1. At the conclusion of all interviews, the search committee shall discuss openly and fully each applicant. All committee members should give the committee the benefit of his or her candid views on each candidate.

3.8. Search Committee Vote: Following the interviews discussion, the search committee members shall vote by secret ballot on each interviewee. who has indicated her/his willingness to serve as president. The voting procedure shall be as follows:

3.8.1. By electronic or other means, the committee members will answer yes or no to the following questions for each candidate: “is this individual qualified and likely to succeed as the institution’s next president?”.

3.8.2. The Commissioner’s staff shall tally the votes and present the results to the committee. Only those who have received a 2/3 majority vote may be forwarded to the Board members.

3.8.3. The committee is not required to send more than three finalists even if more than three candidates have received 2/3 majority vote. The committee may decide to either send the highest scoring 3-5 candidates or hold additional votes to narrow the list to the number of candidates the committee wishes to forward.  If the voting results in fewer than three candidates with 2/3 majority votes, the co-chairs may allow for further discussion of candidates and then call for subsequent votes or the committee may report to the Board chair that it was unable to find three qualified candidates, at which time the Board chair may direct the committee to continue recruiting and interviewing until it can forward at least three candidates, or the chair may end the committee’s service and form a new committee.

3.8.4. The co-chairs shall forward the finalists to the Board of Higher Education for consideration.

3.8.5. The Board shall select an institution of higher education president from among the finalists presented by a search committee. If the Board is not satisfied with the finalists forwarded by a search committee, the Board may direct the search committee to resume the search process until the search committee has forwarded three finalists with which the Board is satisfied, or the Board chair may appoint a new search committee.

3.9. Proxy Voting by Search Committee Members: Search committee members may vote by proxy, but no search committee member may vote on a candidate unless he or she has interviewed the candidate. The proxy vote will be transmitted to the committee co-chairs by email or other verifiable written form.

R203-4. President Selection by Board members

4.1. Files and Reference Information Available to Board members: The Commissioner will provide the Board members with the comprehensive files of all finalists for their review prior to the time of the scheduled interviews. If the Board deems it to be necessary, the Commissioner will make additional contacts to gather added information on the finalists and report his or her findings to the Board.

4.2. Schedule of On-Campus Interviews: The Commissioner will schedule all finalists for on-campus interviews and make the necessary arrangements with all finalists and the institution. Pursuant to Utah’s Open Meetings Act, the Board will make public the names of all finalists to be interviewed by the full Board in such time as to be in compliance with state law prior to the scheduled interviews.

4.3. Finalists’ On-Campus Meetings and Interviews with the Board:

4.3.1. Prior to the Board interviews, the finalists shall meet with on-campus groups, including the institution’s board of trustees, the president’s cabinet, faculty and staff, and students. The Commissioner or staff shall provide feedback from these groups to the Board.

4.3.2. The Board, along with the board of trustees executive committee, shall interview the finalists on campus in a closed executive session.

4.4. Deliberations after Interviews: After the interviews of the finalists are completed, the Board, the trustee executive committee (up to a maximum of five trustees), and the Commissioner shall comprehensively discuss the strengths and weakness of each candidate.

4.5. Preliminary Qualification of Candidates: Prior to seeking consensus to appoint the president, the Board members shall consider the question: “Is one or more of these candidates fully qualified, and will one or more of them, in our judgment, perform the duties as president of this institution with distinction?” If a majority of the members present appear to agree with the above question, the Board members will proceed to appoint a new president. If, however, a majority appear to disagree with this question, the Board members will request the search committee to reconvene and to search for additional qualified persons.

4.6. Board of Trustees May Petition for Consultation: Prior to the final selection of a President, the Board of Trustees may petition the Board to arrange for more extended communications regarding the selection of the President.

4.7. Voting to Appoint a President: The Board will vote to appoint a new president in a properly noticed public meeting. Nine votes or more will be required to appoint a president.

Adopted November 20, 1978; amended May 18, 1982, October 11, 1985, September 12, 1986, September 18,1992, November 13, 1998, September 13, 2002, December 12, 2002, September 5, 2008, and May 29, 2009. Revisions approved on August 27, 2010, January 25, 2013 and March 30, 2018.