CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday discussed a process and timeline to appoint an interim university president during the week of April 12.
The board also agreed to undertake an external review of the due diligence conducted in the 2019 search process that led to the board’s selection of F. King Alexander as president. Recommendations from the external review are expected by May 31 and will inform the board’s search process for the university’s next president.
Board members heard an update on the interim president selection process from Trustee Patty Bedient, who was asked by Chair Rani Borkar to serve as her delegate in conducting the nomination and community engagement process. This week and next, Bedient is meeting with OSU faculty, staff, student leaders, administrators, university partners and stakeholders to gather nominations for interim president and input on the focus for the interim president and experience needed. Meanwhile, the Board of Trustees has launched a web page on the process to select an interim president.
Board members agreed with Bedient and the input she has heard from stakeholders that it is best to consider candidates from within OSU to serve as interim president.
“We are seeing strong internal leaders recommended in the web survey and conversations,” Bedient said. “People want someone that knows the university and our current initiatives, knows our strategic plan and vision, and can keep the momentum going.”
She said Acting President Edward Feser has said that he is not a candidate for the interim position as he prefers to return to the role of OSU provost and executive vice president. She said that President Emeritus Ed Ray, who returned to the faculty on June 30 after 17 years as OSU president, told her that he believes the university has talented leaders who can take this role and sees value in having someone else serve as interim president rather than stepping back into the role himself.
Bedient said the process to gather nominations and input regarding an interim president will continue through April 9, leading to a public meeting of the Board of Trustees the week of April 12 when they will discuss a finalist for the appointment.
“The input that I have heard so far prioritizes that the interim president must have a demonstrated commitment to the university’s core values and be able to build trust and confidence within the university community of faculty, staff and students and external stakeholders,” Bedient said.
Those sharing input also told Bedient they want a leader with existing knowledge of the university and its academic focus and someone who has a commitment to shared governance.
Bedient said once a final candidate is proposed for board consideration, a community forum will be held before a vote by the Board of Trustees.
“A community forum with the final candidate is a great opportunity for the community to hear from the candidate and the board to hear from the community,” Bedient said.
“The interim president also must make the university’s review of interpersonal violence prevention and survivor support their priority and lead efforts to improve those services and programs, and the work of the university’s Title IX office.”
Trustees agreed that the interim president will serve for approximately one year as the board conducts a search for a new president. Trustees also expressed an openness to allowing the person selected as interim president to be considered as a candidate in the search process for a new president.