LARAMIE, Wyoming — The University of Wyoming Faculty Senate has passed a resolution overwhelmingly supporting publicizing the names of finalists for the post of university president well in advance of a decision by the regents.
The faculty senate voted 47 to 3 on Monday in support of the nonbinding measure. The university is still reeling from former UW President Bob Sternberg's Nov. 14 resignation, which came after he served over four months on the job. He had been criticized for his management style and five administrators at the school decided to leave during his short tenure.
The Casper Star-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1bSmGVJ ) that some faculty members said Sternberg's short-lived presidency could have been avoided if the names of finalists in the search that led to Sternberg's hiring had been made public well in advance of the final selection. The university announced four finalists Feb. 22 and selected Sternberg as president four days later.
Donal O'Toole, a professor of veterinary science, introduced the resolution to support transparency and public input in the final stages of the presidential search.
"It didn't give us enough time to do any kind of backgrounding on Sternberg," O'Toole said of the last search procedure.
A new law enacted by the Legislature this year allows any Wyoming college to hire presidents without ever identifying the candidate.
The UW Board of Trustees has yet to establish a timeline and parameters to replace Sternberg. Board President Dave Bostrom said Monday the board is scheduling a meeting to discuss the "presidential matter."
While some people argue that going public with finalists' names will likely decrease the field of candidates, O'Toole said it's still the correct procedure.
"I think the best way to help the trustees, the best way to help ourselves, is to have that candidate come on campus," O'Toole said. "Give us the opportunity to see what these people are like. I think we can help make sure we don't have a repetition of what we've just gone through."
David Anderson, a professor of chemistry, was one of the three who voted against the resolution.
"I don't think it was an issue of whether it was open or closed," Anderson said of the most recent presidential search, citing legal action brought against the university by several media organizations that resulted in the names of four finalists being released. "I don't think this maybe could have been avoided."
The resolution recommends the names of each finalist for president be made public before the trustees make a final selection. It recommends that each finalist meet with the Faculty Senate and that each finalist make a public presentation to the UW community detailing his or her vision for the institution.
UW Faculty Chair Colin Keeney said after Monday's meeting that while the resolution is nonbinding, it sends a message that the public wants to be in the know as a new president is being interviewed.
"We're the only (public four-year) university in the state," Keeney said. "It belongs to the people. And the people want to know who's going to be running the place."
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com