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National Search Firm Visits UM Campus As First Step in Choosing New President

photo by Peter Christian
AGB Search Committee

Two members of the national search team, AGB Search of Washington, D.C., were in Missoula Thursday for another visit to the University campus to help choose the finalists to replace Royce Engstrom, who was asked to resign in December.

Senior Consultant James H. McCormack said the first visit of the search committee was an opportunity to get a feel for the campus and the community.

“Although we have had numerous meetings in December, we’ve been doing our homework and campus visits, this is all what we call the ‘pre-search’,” McCormack said. “As a result of what we’ve learned today, we’ll be putting together a very detailed advertisement and profile to be approved by the commissioner and the committee.”

McCormack said it’s too soon to offer a detailed description of what the future president will look like.

“You shouldn’t start looking until we know what we need,” he said. “What’s more important right now is a profile of this wonderful university, so that people can have an idea of all of that. We’ll get into real detail on this ad that will go across the country about the characteristics of leadership that we need and the challenges. In the profile, we’ll also be telling the story about why someone would want to come to this great place.”

One member of the search committee, Dr. Tom Crady, himself a relatively new hire as Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs, had an insightful suggestion. He recommended that the committee not utilize the ‘boomerang’ method, meaning to not concentrate on choosing someone the exact opposite of former President Royce Engstrom. The AGB Search team agreed that the ‘funnel’ of applicants should start wide, and be narrowed down to the right individual for the job.

Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian said the first search committee was a success.

“It was great,” Christian said. “We’ve spent a lot of time gathering people from all parts of the university, as well as from the associated institutions in Dillon, Butte and Helena. We want to take as many factions as possible to help make the decision. It’s a great group and I’m excited to work with them.”

The hope is that the search will be completed and a new president named by July.


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