Recently a new presidential search has started at UNM. It will start the process to find a new president for UNM after the current president, David Schmidly, steps down when his contract expires in May 2012. I have talked before on the presidential search in relation to Louis Caldera. The presidential searches at UNM have had a sordid history, and this one should be one to keep an eye on too.
According to the Regents press release and the Albuquerque Journal, Regent Jack Fortner, in his 3rd term as Regent, will chair the presidential search committee. He named Jane Slaughter, professor emeritus of history, to be vice-chair. Also on the committee will be Regents Don Chalmers and Jamie Koch. Naming Slaughter as vice chair was seen as improving relations with the faculty and regents. But as we will see, the Regents have ultimate authority in choosing the president.
Fortner sees the importance of choosing the president of the University, their CEO. He stated “This is the most important task that we as regents do. We are committed to an inclusive process. We can and will find an individual who will lead this complex institution in an increasingly complex global environment.”
The regents hired the search firm of Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates, a California based firm. They describe themselves on their website as “a minority- and woman-owned higher education and not-for-profit executive search firm.” (http://www.storbeckpimentel.com/). The Albuquerque Journal quotes Fortner as saying they were selected from a pool of nine companies because of their experience in identifying female and minority candidates, as well as selecting presidents at other research universities. In these times multiculturalism is used to stabilise power, and many advocates go along with this trend. It is called cooptation. The search firm is being paid $300,000 for their recruitment of candidates for the presidency position, paid through 2008 general obligation property tax bonds. As we mentioned before, university presidencies are big money.
The regents have set up public forums and meetings to supposedly get community input on the presidential search. They were even nice enough to set up a website (http://presidentialsearch.unm.edu/). But there is no real input into the selection of the president, the regents will ultimately decide it. The regents represent the business and elite interests of the state, and their president will reflect that.
We will continue to monitor the search as news developments happen.