System prepares to search for UM president

Posted April 29, 2010, at 9:31 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The University of Maine System is gearing up for the search for a successor to University of Maine President Robert Kennedy.

In a letter addressed to Kennedy and posted on the UMaine website, University of Maine System Chancellor Richard L. Pattenaude said the process is in the planning phase.

Nominations for the search committee must be sent to Pattenaude by May 7, he wrote. In addition, the system, which conducts and pays for presidential searches, has requested proposals from several search firms.

Proposals were due by the end of April, and a firm will be selected by mid-May.

“All the firms that are under consideration have broad experience in recruiting presidents and senior administrators for higher education institutions,” Pattenaude wrote.

Kennedy announced March 17 he would step down after five years as UMaine president. He will continue as president until June 2011, after which he will go to work for UMS, helping to develop an energy curriculum for use at all seven campuses in the system.

Pattenaude said Thursday he hopes to present his recommendation for UM president to the University of Maine System board of trustees at the March 14, 2011, board meeting.

“That would be my goal,” he said. “We’re going to be very careful with this search. It’s very important to the University of Maine, the University of Maine System and to the entire state. We’re hoping to generate a large pool of candidates so we get [candidate who is] a really good fit.”

The search will start in September with internal advertisements and notices in national trade publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education. Finding a search firm and forming a search committee will set the national search in motion, the chancellor said.

“We’re just making sure that we’re organized so that we will be prepared to launch a national search in September,” Pattenaude said. “This is a very competitive market for these positions and … it’s important to be ready to go.”

The budget for the search will be $100,000, which includes the cost of the search firm, all travel fees, advertising and support of the search committee, according to Pattenaude.

The system office pays the costs of presidential searches.

Pattenaude is taking search committee nominations from the UMaine Faculty Senate, the board of visitors, the Alumni Association, the Student Senate, the Association of Graduate Students, UMaine Provost Susan E. Hunter, the school’s employee councils and the UMaine Foundation.

In accordance with board of trustees procedures for presidential searches, the search committee will be made up of three trustees, including a trustee chairman of the committee, three faculty members, one member of the student body plus an alternate, one graduate student, one member from academic administration, one profes-sional staff member, one classified staff member, one member from the board of visitors, and one alumnus or alumna or general community representative.

Pattenaude aims to have the search committee in place for the board’s May 23 meeting at UMaine-Fort Kent.

The most recent presidential search in the UMaine System ended in March when former Unity College President Wilson G. Hess was hired as president of UM-Fort Kent.

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