A Cursory Glance at the UNM Presidential Finalists, 2011

Here is a cursory glance at the finalists for the UNM presidency, after the supposed exhaustive search conducted by UNM that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The results are not too surprising.  A selection of elites with some token women and people of color thrown in.

1)Douglas Baker

Provost, University of Idaho since 2005.

from his official bio:

Dr. Baker taught courses in Management, Organizational Behavior, Organizational Design, Strategic Planning, Human Resource Management and Research Methods as a Professor of Management at Washington State University where he began in 1981 as an Assistant Professor.
He has received numerous awards for teaching excellence including the Shell Oil Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award in 1990 and in 1984.”

“He has worked as a consultant to national and international businesses.”


2).  Robert “Bob” Frank,

Provost and Senior Vice president for Academic Affairs at Kent State University in 2007.  Dealt heavily with health sciences there, and has stated it would be a priority for him at UNM too.

He got his doctorate in clinical psychology from UNM in 1979.  He also got his bachelors and masters at UNM too, and went to high school in Las Cruces.  Frank also previously worked with New Mexico senator Jeff Bingaman.  Should help him in the local angle

Also has some military connection.  According to his bio: “In 2011, Dr. Frank was appointed by the United States Department of Defense to the Defense Health Board, a federal advisory committee to the Secretary of Defense.”

Frank is also letting it be known that he is looking for a new job.  He stepped down as provost at Kent State this year (http://kent.patch.com/articles/kent-state-provost-competes-for-university-of-new-mexico-president-s-job).  He has stated his ambitions to be a university president.  He was turned down for the post at East Tennessee State University this year after he applied to it.

He was quoted in the Albuquerque Journal: “At age 59, you tend to reassess your priorities, and I’ve long dreamed of being a college president,” Frank said in his resignation announcement in July. “Realistically, I’ve one career move left, and now’s the time to make it.””

The faculty at UNM is not at all pleased with Frank, based on his past performance and his condescension at forums held this month at the university of New Mexico.  Here’s the Albuquerque Journal again:

A group of University of New Mexico faculty members argued Friday that two of the five presidential finalists are a bad fit for UNM and should no longer be considered.

More than 30 faculty attended a forum to debate the strengths of each finalist. They took no formal action, but almost unanimously agreed that neither Kent State provost Robert Frank nor former University of Arizona provost Meredith Hay should get the nod to be UNM’s next president…

Faculty said after talking to peers at the candidates’ home universities and listening to public forums, they concluded that Frank and Hay lack a sufficient record of teamwork with faculty to improve UNM.

Talking about Frank’s record, a Kent State professor “said he’s a piece of work. He does the bidding of the powers that be; that he’s extremely aggressive; he’s antagonistic to faculty. She didn’t know of any faculty that liked him; he just rammed stuff through,” said anthropology professor Lawrence Straus. “… He had publicly called the faculty pathetic. This is the candidate that’s unacceptable to me.”

Frank could not be reached for comment. His Kent State colleagues told the Journal the provost developed a reputation for accomplishing change, but drew protest from professors who opposed doing things differently.

Some UNM faculty said Frank, in his public forum, carried himself like a bully who was being pestered by them.

“I think he’d make a fine leader at a military academy,” said libraries professor Daniel Barkley. “I think what really bothers me the most was his really caustic approach to the faculty that asked him questions.”

3).  Meredith Hay.  Hay, former University of Arizona provost, was once considered for the job at UNM previously in 2007, and while in Arizona in between that time she alienated the faculty there.  Here’s what they say about Hay, as quoted in the Journal:

“The group expressed similar distaste for former University of Arizona provost Meredith Hay, saying she failed to communicate significant institutional changes with faculty there in the face of $180 million in budget cuts over three years.

Hay was a finalist to be UNM president in 2007 before working at Arizona, and at the time was the faculty’s top pick for the job. After recommending Hay in 2007, UNM faculty said they want to rely more heavily on proven administrative experience than the candidates’ polished public presentations. A majority of Arizona faculty who participated in a 2009 leadership survey reported “no confidence” or “low confidence” in Hay’s work as provost.” (http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2011/12/17/news/unm-faculty-rejects-two-finalists.html)

4).  Elizabeth Hoffman, executive VP and Provost at Iowa State University, was previously president at University of Colorado at Boulder until 2005.  She was forced to resign after pressure from right wingers during the controversy over Ward Churchill.  Hoffman made a speech warning of a New McCarthyism, so good in defending Churchill and free speech.  But also during that time it was revealed that the football department had an $800,000 slush fund to recruit potential athletes, and used it to buy sex and alcohol for these recruits.  According to the New York Times: “Reports of wild weekends, proffered sex for football recruits and sexual assault of women also fed the university’s reputation as a party school where alcohol abuse is tolerated as a part of the undergraduate culture.”  There was also many alcohol related deaths on the campus, long known as a party school.  Hoffman was accused of knowing about the culture of college sports on CU and the blind eye to its abuses, so bad for that.  Hoffman also has many corporate connections.  From her official bio:

“She is currently on the Boards of Marsico Capital Management, Smith College, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, and the Science Center of Iowa.  Over her career, she has served on more than 20 boards, including the Board of Directors
of Target Corporation, the National Science Board, and the Space Telescope Institute Council, which oversees the management of the Hubble Space Telescope.”

5). Elsa Murano, former professor and President Emerita of Texas A&M University.  In that last job she held it for a little over one year, and resigned in what seemed like forced reasons, and had much controversy under her short term (http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/2009/06/15/0615murano.html).  Murano has many corporate and political connections also, mainly in agribusiness.  She was appointed undersecretary of Food Safety at the Department of Agriculture under George W. Bush.  She was Dean and Vice Chalcellor of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  She secured much funding, and

“In addition to her teaching and research duties, she currently serves as a member of the Board for International Food and Agriculture Development, a presidentially-appointed position that advises the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development within the State Department, and serves on the Board of Directors of Hormel Foods Corporation and the Food Processors Institute Foundation.” (http://presidentialsearch.unm.edu/murano-bio.pdf)

All of these candidates are not surprising, mainly corporate and administrative hacks that will keep the status quo going.  My money is that they will choose Bob Frank, a loyal white guy who has no respect for faculty.  After all, it is the regents who ultimately choose the president.  There is no formal way that the communities of the university and the rest of the state is involved in this decision.

The Regents show their arrogance at their power by scheduling the public forums for questions and answers on the candidates right during finals week.  To guarantee that hardly any students will participate.  Along with faculty and staff too.  The final decision will be January 4, 2012.  Stay tuned.


About elloborojo

Okay, as the subtitle states, this is a notebook from what I call a New Mexico diaspora (look up diaspora if you are asking). I was a former resident of New Mexico, now living elsewhere, but New Mexico is still my homeland. To get more in touch with your homeland one must be away from it. This is my attempt to understand it. I was a former anti-militarism activist in the Albuquerque area. Still believe that United Snakes militarism is the greatest threat to the world, as do the majority of the worlds population. Uncovered much information about the ties in New Mexico, but never processed it all. This blog is an attempt to do that. Also hope it may come of use to others with similar interests.
This entry was posted in Presidential Search, University of New Mexico. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Cursory Glance at the UNM Presidential Finalists, 2011

  1. Pingback: I Was Right…Robert Frank Is The New UNM President « El Lobo Rojo: Notes From A New Mexico Diaspora

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