Chairman praises MSUB chancellor search committee, expects May decision

2014-04-25T20:30:00Z 2014-05-14T16:46:18Z Chairman praises MSUB chancellor search committee, expects May decisionBy ZACH BENOIT zbenoit@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The chairman of the 18-person search committee charged with finding Montana State University Billings' new chancellor said on Friday that a decision on the position could come within three weeks, and that he's proud of the group's efforts so far.

"It's been an excellent week," said Terry Leist, Montana State University's vice president for administration and finance. "We have seen four great candidates."

MSUB Chancellor Rolf Groseth plans to retire after the university's May 3 commencement. 

Ricardo Maestas, special assistant to the Texas State University System chancellor, visited on Monday and Michael Droge, president of Park University in Parkville, Missouri, spent Tuesday on campus.

Margaret Madden, provost and vice president for academic affairs at State University of New York Potsdam, visited MSUB on Wednesday and Michael Nook, senior vice president for academic affairs for the University of Wisconsin System, was in town Friday.

Leist said the candidate list was narrowed from about 57 initially to the four who visited over the week. R.H. Perry and Associates, a search firm specializing in higher education searches, helped identify and investigate the candidates.

While the firm conducted background checks, Leist said the committee members also performed their due diligence, seeking out information on and interviews with candidates on their own.

"The search committee did a great job," he said. "It's a large search committee and it was unanimous decision on who we brought to campus."

Early next week, the committee will meet to discuss the four finalists and put together evaluations and feedback from the MSUB campus visits and interviews for each one. Leist said he plans to have those evaluations on the desk of MSU President Waded Cruzado, who will make the final hiring decision, by Wednesday.

After that, Cruzado will conduct any face-to-face interviews she feels are necessary and make a decision.

Leist said that decision could come as soon as mid-May and should be done, at the latest, by the start of June.

"Ideally, we'll have an announcement in the next few weeks," he said. "The search committee  has worked extremely hard and I have four candidates that want to be here."

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