Efforts to fill high-profile MSUB positions gaining momentum

2014-01-23T02:30:00Z 2014-02-21T17:04:10Z Efforts to fill high-profile MSUB positions gaining momentumBy ZACH BENOIT zbenoit@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Montana State University Billings officials have ramped up efforts to fill several high-profile positions at the university.

Chancellor Rolf Groseth announced on Jan. 9 that he’d retire in May, Marilynn Miller, president and CEO of the MSUB Billings Foundation, retired at the end of 2013 and Stacy Klippenstein earlier this month left his position as vice chancellor of student affairs to become president of Miles Community College in Miles City.

The official search for chancellor should begin soon — an exact date has not yet been set — when Montana State University President Waded Cruzado comes to town.

“The president hopes to be in Billings in the next two weeks to introduce a search committee — which is currently being formed — and give the committee its charge,” said Tracy Ellig, MSU Communications’ executive director, in an email to the Gazette. “A search consultant will be identified and the search process will start as soon as the committee has its charge.”

Aaron Clingingsmith, MSUB spokesman, said that there’s no set date or deadline for when a hire will be made or announced. The committee will conduct a nationwide search and make recommendations to Cruzado, who ultimately will name the chancellor, he said.

Miller retired at the end of December after 14 years with the MSU Billings Foundation, which supports and raises money for MSUB. The search committee, made up of members of the foundation’s Board of Trustees and others associated with MSUB and the foundation, began advertising locally an nationally for the position last year.

The committee narrowed the field of 30 or so initial applicants to seven people interviewed by phone. One candidate visited for an on-campus interview last week while another dropped out earlier this week, said Shannon Behounek, the foundation’s director of annual giving and publications.

“Our main goal is to make sure that our new president and CEO is someone who fits well into the puzzle,” she said.

While advertising for the open vice chancellor position hasn’t started, efforts to fill the role should gain some steam in the next few weeks.

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Mark Pagano is co-chair of the position search committee, along with Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Terrie Iverson. Pagano said on Wednesday that a search committee has already been assembled that they’ll hire a Montana University System-approved consulting firm to assist in the search.

“We hope to kick off the search by the week of Feb. 10” at the first committee meeting, Pagano said. “This is an important position for the future of our campus.”

The position ad will run locally and nationally for about six weeks, until the end of March. Pagano said the committee hopes to conduct interviews shortly after, before the students leave campus for summer break in May.

“We hope to have an offer out at the end of the semester to start July 1,” he said.

A fourth high-level position, College of Arts and Sciences dean, will also open up soon and the search to fill it could run parallel, time-wise, with the vice chancellor efforts.

Pagano said the current dean, Tasneem Khaleel, announced in late 2013 that she planned to return to a faculty position at MSUB at the end of the academic year but agreed to stay on as dean until her replacement is found.

Dean Barbara Wheeling, from the College of Business, and Patricia Vettle-Becker, Department of Art chair, are co-chairing that search committee.

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