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Presidential Selection Process Explained
"Dr. Willerson has created for us in his time here an outstanding opportunity to move the institution even further forward," said Kenneth Shine, M.D., executive vice chancellor for Health Affairs at UT System, as he explained, in mid-December, the process involved in the Regents' selection of a new president for the health science center.
"This is going to be and is a very attractive institution to potential candidates, as the largest campus by number of professional schools of UT System's academic health centers. In addition there has been tremendous growth in facilities, in research expenditures and numbers of students being educated and, of course, in philanthropic gifts," Shine added. "There also are outstanding clinical programs which have a remarkable potential for growth, as well."
The size and scope of the position poses a major challenge - to find just the right person to take on the leadership of the health science center. "This will be a completely open national search," Shine said. "I want to assure you that no candidate has been pre-anointed."
UT System and the Regents are trying to find "the very best person" to lead this part of the university. "We are looking for a person of proven leadership skills with vision and a well-documented record of creativity, research, education, clinical care and administration. We are looking for an individual that promises to provide excellent leadership to move the institution forward on an even higher trajectory," Shine said.
A national search firm, Spencer Stuart, has been retained to help in the initial search. Anyone wishing to submit the name of a potential candidate should send an e-mail to Charles Falcone at Spencer Stuart, email@example.com, the principal of the firm working with UT System on the search. Nominations also may be sent to KShine@utsystem.edu.
An advisory search committee organized under The University of Texas System Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations will undertake a national search for President Willerson's successor, Shine said. Shine advised that those serving on the Advisory Committee are bound to keep all deliberations confidential. Once a person is confirmed as a candidate and comes to the campus for a visit, the names will become common knowledge.
After several meetings of subcommittees and the committee as a whole, the search advisory committee will recommend three to 10 names of potential candidates to UT System Board of Regents and the successor will be chosen by the Regents. "The recommendations will not be ranked when they go to the Regents," Shine explained.
"It is not uncommon," Shine said, "for the Regents to end up with a single candidate." Once the finalist's name is posted, the Regents must wait 21 days before they confirm the new president.
"If everything goes according to schedule," Shine said, "campus visits will take place in April and the final decision should be made in May."
Interestingly, UT Southwestern also is in the search process for a new president. "The potential candidates will not be allowed to apply for both positions," Shine emphasized.
While The new president of the UT Health Science Center will not be presented with a specific agenda by either the Regents or UT System leadership, said Shine. "He or she is responsible to us, but will not be micromanaged."
Shine responded to questions and a summary follows:
- Texas law requires that the president be an M.D.
- The new president should have an understanding of the stresses that are part and parcel of the jobs of administrators, faculty and staff and that the new executive definitely should be cognizant of the mental and physical health of all on the campus.
- The new president will need excellent communication skills so that everyone knows what is happening.
- That he or she should understand the need for balance in dealing with research and technology transfer. "Universities are not simply economic engines; they are knowledge repositories."
Shine concluded the Town Hall meeting stating that UT Houston is poised to make even greater strides in the future and he is confident that a leader will be selected who will fulfill the tremendous potential that has been built here.
By Pamela Lewis, Institutional Advancement
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