Frequently Asked Questions

What has happened thus far?
The search process formally began in September when the Board Chair appointed the Presidential Search Committee and the Board approved the generalized search process.  From the beginning, we decided to take a deliberate approach – not rushing the process, but instead taking time to get it right.  Some initial activity:

  • Campus and Community Forums: We held five public forums on campus, in Eugene and in Portland to help gather input about what people what to see in the next president (skills, characteristics, experiences, etc.).
  • Online Survey: We conducted an online survey to ask similar questions of those unable to attend the forums (faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni).
  • Position Profile: The position profile was updated to incorporate all of the feedback received.  It is posted online and has been used in recruiting candidates.
  • Published Advertisements: Ads were placed in several national education publications, business and leadership publications, and newspapers.  The ad was designed to stand out and reflect the UO, rather than be a standard boring posting.
  • Candidate Recruitment: The search firm is actively engaging prospective candidates and building the candidate pool. 

What’s next?
For the next month or so, there is not much public activity.  Search committee members and the search firm will continue to talk to potential candidates in order to build the best possible pool of qualified individuals.  There is one additional forum taking place in late February, focused on traditionally underrepresented communities and their perspectives on the presidency.  The committee and advisory group will formulate the types of questions and feedback they’d like to see from candidates selected for interviews.

What are the final process points?
When the committee feels confident that a strong pool exists, it will work to narrow down the list of candidates to a group of semi-finalists (for lack of a better term).  The CVs and materials of those semi-finalists will be reviewed by the advisory group, which will offer feedback and areas of inquiry for interviews.  This group of semi-finalists will be interviewed by the search committee, which will then meet to narrow the list to a recommended set of finalists.  The committee will provide a report to the Board Chair about those finalists.  The Board Chair will convene the whole Board of Trustees for interviews with finalists.  The Board of Trustees will vote and select the next president. 

When will the search be done?
There is no set deadline for the search.  As we’ve said all along, finding the right person is more important than finding someone by a certain date. Having said that, no one wants the search to linger – least of all the candidates.  We are looking at possibly interviewing finalists in the spring, and selecting someone who can be on board before as the new academic year begins.

How is it going?  Are candidates interested?
The candidate pool is being developed, and the firm is receiving feedback from interested individuals that they are enthusiastic about the UO’s future and the opportunity ahead for the entire institution, not just the president.  There are of course some individuals who are not interested in the position for a variety of reasons.  Whether the “right” candidate is among the pool will be determined after the committee and the Board review applicants and conduct interviews. 

What is the difference between the search committee and the advisory group?
The search committee is the group that will identify and interview semi-finalists (a target of approximately eight individuals) from the overall candidate pool.  The committee is also the group that will identify finalists for recommendation to the Board of Trustees.  The committee will not participate in the actual selection of a candidate; that is reserved for the Board.

The advisory group supports the search committee by providing specific constituency perspectives to the overall search process.  The advisory group was helpful in the development of the position profile and gathering input from various groups about key traits and experiences of a desired president.  The group will review the CVs and related documents of semi-finalists, and provide input, thoughts, and feedback to the search committee on those individuals. 

Will there be any on-campus interviews or meetings for candidates?
There will not.  The search committee agreed that this process needs to be completely confidential in order to attract the best possible candidates.  That has proven accurate – candidates who have expressed interest have stated that they would not do so if there was a public element of any type to this search.   The only interviews will be with the search committee (initial interviews) and the Board of Trustees (final interviews).

Who is leading the University of Oregon’s presidential search?
The Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon appointed a Presidential Search Committee to lead this important search, with the assistance of a Presidential Search Advisory Group. Trustee Connie Ballmer '84 will chair the committee, which represents trustees, faculty, students, parents, and staff.

What is the role of the Presidential Search Committee?
The search committee will identify and evaluate potential candidates to serve as the University of Oregon’s next president, and will share recommended finalists with the Board of Trustees. The ultimate decision to appoint a president rests with the full board.

What is the role of the search committee chair?
The search chair will organize and lead all of the activity of the search committee. The committee chair is also the spokesperson for the committee. She will provide regular updates to the UO community.

What is the role of the board chair in selection of a president?
Although the board retains the responsibility for the selection and appointment of UO’s president, the board delegates to the chair of the board the authority to conduct the search for a UO president on the board’s behalf. The Presidential Search Committee will assist the board chair. This format is consistent with the relationship between the State Board of Higher Education and the chancellor that selected previous UO presidents.

Is the Presidential Search Committee a public body?
The Presidential Search Committee is a group of individuals tasked with managing and executing the process to identify candidates interested in being the University of Oregon’s next president.  The Committee is not a formal body of the University or an official committee of the Board of Trustees.  Importantly, the Committee will not select or appoint the next president.  It will merely make unranked recommendations to the Chair of the Board, who will then schedule official meetings of the Board for deliberation and decision-making.

Why is confidentiality so important in a search process?
A confidential search provides candidates greater opportunity to candidly explore the University of Oregon, and helps the UO recruit from the broadest pool of talented academic leaders (many of whom hold key positions at other universities). Search committee members, advisory group members, and staff supporting the effort must sign an agreement that they will abide by confidentiality requirements for all discussions and deliberations related to the search.

Any final decision by the Board of Trustees will be made in a public meeting, and all deliberations and discussions will be in accordance with Oregon’s public meeting laws.

Will the University use a search firm? 
There are a number of talented search firms with expertise in recruiting and identifying talented candidates for executive level positions in higher education. The committee will have the support of a professional search firm that has experience with the University of Oregon. A decision on which firm will be made shortly and the chair will update the UO community about that decision.

What is the timeline for the search?
It is the goal of the search committee to identify the best possible candidate for this important position. As a result, the board is not establishing a specific timeline or deadline for the committee’s work. The committee will work to advance the process as efficiently and effectively as possible.

How can stakeholders provide input into the process?
Stakeholders are a critical component of an effective search, and the committee welcomes comments and feedback. In addition to comments submitted to the committee, there will be public forums throughout the process to engage stakeholders. As these forums are planned, they will be announced by the chair. If you wish to communicate directly with the committee or the chair, the best way is through an email address dedicated to the search process: This email is monitored by the university secretary, who provides staff support for the committee, and will be handled in accordance with the committee’s internal confidentiality rules.

What if I have additional questions?
Please feel free to email to contact committee staff regarding additional questions.