Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More on Loh Loss at Iowa

And Its Implications for

the Presidential Search at

the University of Minnesota

The last time the provost position was open at Iowa, one of our administrators was a finalist. Maybe this time?

From KCRG News:

UI Provost Loh Leaving to be President

of University of Maryland

IOWA CITY, Iowa - University of Iowa President Sally Mason Tuesday morning said a national search will be conducted to replace outgoing provost Wallace Loh.

A search for such a key position could take a year or more, she said. The UI probably won’t use a search firm, and there will be a lot of involvement by faculty, staff and students in the process, Mason said. An interim provost will be appointed by Mason.

In choosing a new provost, Mason said she will look for someone “every bit as good as Wallace Loh.” Provost jobs sometimes see a lot of turnover, as provosts become presidents. Mason said that is the danger a university runs when it recruits a skilled, talented leader.

“The provost is really the person who is charged with the responsibility of making sure the academic piece of the campus is running smoothly and everything is happening the way it should.”

[from a statement by Wallace Loh]

"I’ve had the privilege to get to know and work with wonderful faculty, staff, administrators, students, and supporters of the University who make possible the University’s continuing advancement in excellence and impact. No provost could ask for a better boss to work with and for than I have had in President Sally Mason. Her leadership team is among the best and most collegial to be found anywhere in higher education. I will also miss the superlative and equally collegial deans whom our colleges are fortunate to have as their leaders, as well as the many other administrators and shared governance leaders with whom I’ve worked and socialized and from whom I’ve learned so much."

As an Iowa alum [MS, Biochemistry], I've watched with interest what Dr. Loh has done in his short time at Iowa. He and Iowa have faced enormous challenges in the recent past, including a devastating flood and its economic consequences along with the general deterioration of the economy.

I think that his excellent work in facing these challenges and working with the University of Iowa community has allowed Dr. Loh to demonstrate his outstanding leadership abilities. Although I am sorry that Iowa is losing him, they still have an outstanding president and will no doubt pick an excellent successor to Dr. Loh. I am sure it will not go unnoticed by up-and-coming administrators with presidential hopes that Iowa has been an excellent producer of university presidents, e.g. at Michigan, Cornell, Connecticut, Illinois, and now Maryland.

We have had relatively little experience in the past thirty years with hiring at the presidential level from outside, the only exception being Mark Yudof. By contrast this is the usual practice in the rest of the BigTen and in the better public higher education institutions.

The usual practice, in hiring from within, is to promote the provost as we did last time. Unfortunately the current occupant of the position does not have a very good track record in working with the faculty and especially in following university policy, e.g. his attempt to wipe out the graduate school:

"The Provost’s plan to abolish the Graduate School, as publicly announced by the Provost in his e-mail of Feb. 9, 2009 to the University faculty, was adopted without any prior consultation or involvement of the University Senate, or any part or committee thereof, in violation of University policy." (Faculty Senate Resolution - 30 April 2009)

Under these circumstances it might be best if the provost withdrew his name from consideration. And, unlike last time, keeps it withdrawn...

Time for real change in Morrill Hall?


No comments: