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UNM wants new president selected by ‘early spring’

University of New Mexico President Bob Frank is not seek a renewal of his contract. Under his exit agreement with the Board of Regents, he would become the director of the Center for Innovation in Health and Education after his contract expires May 31. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

University of New Mexico President Bob Frank is not seeking a renewal of his contract. Under his exit agreement with the Board of Regents, he would become the director of the Center for Innovation in Health and Education after his contract expires May 31. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico Board of Regents hopes to have a new president selected by spring and running the university a few months later.

“The search seeks to include input from the entire campus community,” regents president Rob Doughty said. “A goal of early spring 2017 has been set to have a new president selected, with a permanent president beginning June 1, 2017.”

That news came out of a sparsely attended regents’ meeting on main campus Tuesday afternoon.

The next president will be UNM’s 22nd since the school’s beginning in 1889. And it has been roughly two decades since a president has served a term lasting more than five years.

Less than a month ago, President Bob Frank said he would not seek a second term after his contract expires May 31. He has the option of moving to a $350,000-a-year tenured position at the Health Sciences Center.

Regent Rob Doughty, right. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Regent Rob Doughty, right. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Initially, Doughty indicated the search would start in spring of 2017 at the latest and that an interim would be appointed, if necessary.

Under the new plan, there would be no need for an interim because the goal is to have a new president start by June 1, 2017.

Regents Vice President Marron Lee said members adopted an aggressive timeline because this is when viable people are searching for a new job.

“If we delay any longer, we would miss out on a good candidate pool,” Lee told the Journal after the Tuesday meeting. “We might as well strike when hiring season is upon us.”

Doughty, an appointee of Gov. Susana Martinez, will lead the search committee along with Lee and Tom Clifford, the former Department of Finance and Administration secretary for Martinez who was appointed to the board earlier this year. Clifford’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

Regents said they plan to include the campus community in the search for a new president. To that end, they encouraged community members to provide their input at presidentialsearch.unm.edu.

The regents also plan to convene a search committee whose members will assist the board in choosing the next president. Nominations for that committee are due by Oct. 28 and should be sent to search@unm.edu.

Lee said the board plans to hire a search firm to find and recruit candidates.

“This is both a challenge and an opportunity for UNM, and the board is committed to selecting a leader who is both innovative and inspirational, and can successfully advance New Mexico’s flagship university,” Lee said, in a statement.

Faculty Senate President Pamela Pyle said Tuesday that she wanted to be sure faculty would be involved in such a crucial decision that affects the university.

Frank declined to comment on the announcement. He previously has said he leaves the presidency with mixed emotions, and he was proud of what had been accomplished since he started in 2012.

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