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Published: 8/12/2010

Trustees hire firm to seek new BGSU president

BY CHRISTOPHER D. KIRKPATRICK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green State University leaders are preparing to say good-bye next year to President Carol Cartwright - the first female leader of the school and a force behind its $200 million of capital improvements on campus.

The university's board of trustees already persuaded the president to extend her stay by a year to June. The trustees agreed during a Friday retreat to hire a Chicago-based firm to conduct a national search for a new leader.

Board Chairman John Moore said Wednesday that Ms. Cartwright refined and polished academic programs in the school's five areas of academic excellence and oversaw a historic increase in enrollment with the second-largest incoming freshman class this year. The school has about 3,800 incoming freshmen.

"She's completed quite a few tasks, started quite a few initiatives, such as completing a strategic master plan," Mr. Moore said.

The retired Air Force colonel also pointed out an accolade this year from U.S. News and World Report that called the school one of the best in the nation for its strong commitment to teaching and specialized programs for freshmen.

Ms. Cartwright was traveling Wednesday and unable to comment.

Some faculty, complaining of low pay, say the Cartwright administration has tried to control them by blocking a unionization effort.

University officials appealed to the State Employment Relations Board back in February to change the procedure of a faculty vote petitioned for by the BGSU Faculty Association. The vote would decide if full-time faculty want to be represented by the American Association of University Professors in collective bargaining for pay, benefits, and working conditions.

The university objected, saying tenure-track and nontenure-track faculty should not be in a union together. They also said any vote should happen in the fall and not over the summer, according to Dave Kielmeyer, a university spokesman.

The two sides reached an agreement, Mr. Kielmeyer said, and a vote of full-time faculty, regardless of their tenure status, is scheduled from Sept. 28 to Oct. 12. Ballots will be mailed to homes, and faculty will have two weeks to cast a secret ballot by mailing them back to the SERB office in Columbus.

A ballot must have a postmark of Oct. 12 or earlier to be valid.

BGSU has about 800 full-time faculty members.

David Jackson, a political science professor and faculty association president, said that the faculty association has been an "advocacy" chapter of the AAUP and faculty want more status when it comes to bargaining for pay.

"It's about having a contract," he said.

Over her now more than two years in office, Ms. Cartwright moved from interim to permanent president and set about raising the profile of the state school sometimes caught between the shadows of the University of Toledo to the north and Ohio State University to the south.

Among her accomplishments were shepherding a planned $200 million in capital improvements and gaining approval in a campuswide student vote for a new fee to help finance the Stroh Center. The new facility will serve as a convocation center and as the new home for the basketball and volleyball teams.

Ms. Cartwright, who was president of Kent State University from 1991 until 2006, was hired as interim president in 2008 when Sidney Ribeau resigned to become president of Howard University in Washington.

Trustees urged her to stay on, and in January, 2009, voted 6-2 to pay her a $375,000 annual salary to remain president through June, 2011.

The board agreed last week to hire the executive search firm of Heidrick and Struggles to look for a new president. The firm has clients worldwide. Details of the contract agreement are under discussion, according to a university spokesman.

Contact Christopher Kirkpatrick at

ckirkpatrick@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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