Three candidates remain in the running to serve as the University of Minnesota’s next president.
The U’s search committee recommended the semifinalists to the university’s governing board after sifting through 67 applications and interviewing nine candidates. It was an applicant pool dominated by academics, though a slew of senior executives from outside higher education also applied, according to general data on applicants’ experience and education obtained by the Star Tribune.
The Board of Regents will meet Wednesday to discuss the three semifinalists and decide whether to name them. In Minnesota, the identities of applicants for public posts are private until they are named finalists, except for general information on their education, experience and veteran status.
In a statement, David McMillan, the regents’ chair, said the search committee had overseen a “thorough, thoughtful process” and thanked its 23 members, including its chair, fellow regent Abdul Omari.
“The process has served the University well and has forwarded strong candidates for the Board’s consideration,” McMillan said.
U President Eric Kaler announced this summer that he would step down next June 30. In September, the governing board launched a national search on a fast-paced, 12- to 16-week timeline to find his replacement. The 67 applications received compare to almost 150 applications during the U’s most recent search in 2010, which brought U alumnus Kaler to the campus.
In response to a Government Data Practices request, the U released some information on the experience and education of applicants. The university kept job descriptions as general as “non-higher ed,” “manager” and “nonmanagement” to protect the identities of applicants. The Data Practices Act does not specify how detailed the information provided should be.
Fifty of the 67 candidates have worked as full-time faculty — in one case for almost five decades — and another four have taught on a campus part time. Almost 50 also have experience as college or university administrators. Only seven contenders have never worked in academia, including several with lengthy tenures as senior executives. One was a professional athlete before working as an executive.
While in 2010 regents called for candidates with at least some experience in academia, this time around some regents expressed strong interest in considering nontraditional contenders.
Five candidates listed experience as politicians, ranging from four to 30 years. Two are military veterans.
Forty-five contenders have Ph.Ds. Two have only bachelor’s degrees, and five have MBAs.
The regents will meet at 3 p.m. Wednesday for a public meeting, which will be livestreamed. Because the identities of the three semifinalists will not be public at that point, board members will discuss them without disclosing their names or mentioning identifying details of their résumés.
Earlier in November, the search committee interviewed nine candidates who included five women and three applicants of color. The U has declined to say how many of those women were minorities, saying that could make it possible to identify some applicants.