Northern Illinois University President John Peters announced during his State of the University address that he will step aside next June. The newly-formed, 28-person search committee met for the first time last week and will formally meet again next month. NIU Faculty Senate President Alan Rosenbaum co-chairs the search committee.
He says no one intended for the committee to be so large, but that is what happened to make sure it truly represents all of the interests in the university community. Rosenbaum says the committee will work with a hiring firm to advertise and vet possible candidates.
He says committee members want a "Superman" figure to fulfill the mission of the university. Rosenbaum says that man, or woman, will have several challenges ahead.
He says there are some differences in the type of leader the search committee would like to see:
"For example, the faculty was very adamant about the fact that we want an academic president. We want someone who comes from the academic ranks... who is tenure-able...[and] who has respect for the tenure system. There were some people on the committee, not necessarily faculty, although I think that there are some faculty that I think would agree with this, that were suggesting that we need an entrepreneurial president or someone that comes in with more of a business model."
Rosenbaum says the committee hopes to find around five qualified candidates to recommend to the Board of Trustees. He says the best candidate will be someone who can communicate the needs of the university to lawmakers. Rosenbaum also says the next president has to be a strong fundraiser as state support dwindles.