Higher education

Regents vow to be 'deliberative, thoughtful, and inclusive' in search for new University of Northern Iowa president

This 'is the single most important thing a board does'

Bill Ruud is the former president of the University of Northern Iowa.
Bill Ruud is the former president of the University of Northern Iowa.

Iowa Board of Regents President Bruce Rastetter on Wednesday issued a statement, which he said comes “in light of recent news reports,” reiterating the importance of hiring a new University of Northern Iowa using a “deliberative, thoughtful, and inclusive” search process.

“The hiring of a university president is the single most important thing a board does,” Rastetter said in a statement. “We take this responsibility seriously and want to make sure we take the proper time to put together a process that will ensure the best possible candidate is found.”

UNI President William Ruud last week announced plans to leave his post for the presidency at Mariette College in Ohio — a private institution with about 1,100 students. Faculty members and other community constituents have raised concerns about the board’s decision not to renew Ruud’s contract, which expires June 1, and have questioned aloud whether he was pushed out.

Those critics also have said they’ll be watching the board closely to see how it conducts the UNI presidential search after a search for a new University of Iowa president last year created widespread unrest across campus and led to faculty and student votes of no-confidence in the Board of Regents.

That search landed former IBM executive Bruce Harreld as the new UI president despite significant campus concerns with his candidacy. Faculty said the board violated shared governance values by disregarding their opinions, and the American Association of University Professors next month will decide wither to censure the university in connection with the search debacle.

In Rastetter’s statement on Wednesday, he said, the board already has and will continue to “reach out to key stakeholders to get their thoughts regarding the next UNI president.”

“We will continue to ask for advice and counsel from these constituents, as well as the entire Board of Regents, to get their feedback on the selection process,” Rastetter said in the statement.


The board plans to appoint an interim president at its June meeting, when regents also will “have more to say about the search process.”

“This process needs to be deliberative, thoughtful and inclusive so that we can hire the best person to serve as the next president of UNI,” according to the statement.

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