Faculty Opinion Considered by President Search Committee, Tolbert Says

If the regents confirm the candidate announced Tuesday, she will be the first woman to lead the UA.
Feb. 8, 2012
Ann Weaver Hart
Ann Weaver Hart

Although there were concerns about inadequate faculty representation on the presidential search committee, the faculty perspective was represented and was taken seriously, search committee member Leslie Tolbert, UA vice president for research, graduate studies and economic development, told the Faculty Senate on Monday.

The Arizona Board of Regents announced Tuesday that Temple University President Ann Weaver Hart is the candidate for the job and will visit the UA campus Feb. 13, ahead of the regents meeting Feb. 16-17, to meet with students, faculty, staff, administrators and members of the public. If the board confirms her appointment, she will be the first woman to take the UA's reins since its founding.

The next regents meeting is at Arizona State University.

Faculty were invited to take a survey in the fall that asked about the qualities they would most like to see in a new president. The need for a strong academic background topped the list of qualities, which were forwarded to the search committee.

Hart has been president of Temple since 2006, and before that she was president of the University of New Hampshire and provost and vice president for academic affairs at Claremont Graduate University. Her prior appointments also include professor of educational leadership, dean of the Graduate School and special assistant to the president at the University of Utah.

Secretary of the Faculty J.C. Mutchler – director of the history program at UA South and also a member of the presidential search committee – told the Senate the committee looked at hundreds of possibilities, spoke to dozens of people and approved a "short list" of prospects, which the regents have been considering since last month.

Tolbert said the regents listened to the search committee. She said Regent Rick Myers, the committee's co-chairman, told her he took the short list to the rest of the regents along with the comments the search committee had agreed on regarding why some people should advance in the process while others should not.

"At the end of each meeting, we always checked with each other: 'Do we feel our input was heard?' 'Yes,' " she said. "We had the ability to have direct contact with the two chairs, (former) Sen. (Dennis) DeConcini and Regent Myers, anytime."

Mutchler said he knows there are faculty members who have been unhappy with the process, but it's time to unify as a faculty behind the new president, whether or not the process was appreciated.

University President Eugene G. Sander said everyone needs to put aside their what-ifs in the name of common sense.

"Common sense says the board of regents does not wish to impose on this institution a leader who cannot lead this institution," he said.