Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Presidential candidate pool at UT swells to 29

Twenty-nine people - including a former University of Toledo administrator, the president of Heidelberg College, and a former assistant secretary of defense - have applied to be UT's next president.

None of the people who applied are current UT employees.

Yesterday was the preference date for receiving applications set by the university's presidential search committee. The school is seeking a successor to Dr. Vik Kapoor, who resigned in June after 17 months in office. He was replaced by William Decatur, who is interim president.

Most of the 29 applicants are high-ranking college officers, and four of them are sitting presidents, including Dr. Richard Owens of Heidelberg in Tiffin. Two applicants come from private business.

Among the candidates are:

  • Dr. Harold L. Allen, senior vice president for research, strategic partnerships, and economic development and professor of biology at Cleveland State University.

  • Dr. Lawrence J. Korb, vice president, director of studies and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

    Dr. Allen was a professor and administrator at the University of Toledo until he resigned in 1994 as vice president for graduate studies, research, and economic development, to become provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Cleveland State University.

    In 1998, Dr. Allen was interviewed for the position of president of UT, but was not named a finalist.

    Dr. Korb was an assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan from 1981 to 1985. After that, he was dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh from 1986 to 1988. He has held positions at Georgetown University and the Brookings Institution before his current appointment.

    Mr. Decatur said he did not apply for the post because he does not have the background faculty are looking for in a president.

    “It's pretty clear to me at this point in time that the faculty leaders are looking for a traditional candidate, one who has come up through the academic ranks,” he said. “If that changes, then I guess I'd have to make a decision.”

    Mr. Decatur was vice president of finance and business services prior to being tapped as interim president.

    As for the dearth of UT candidates, Dr. Andrew Jorgensen, president of the faculty senate, said he was not surprised due to the high number of its leaders who have taken early retirement or left for other institutions.

    “We do definitely want someone who has some senior leadership experience, and there are not a lot of people in that category at the University of Toledo right now,” he said.

    Dr. Kapoor was the only internal candidate for president during the university's last search. He had been dean of the engineering college.

    This time, Dr. Owens, Heidelberg's president since 1996, is the only candidate from northwest Ohio. Heidelberg is a liberal arts college of about 1,400 students.

    While Dr. Owens said he is “very happy” at Heidelberg, he said he is interested in the challenges facing UT.

    “I think the potential of the university and its role in the community ... indicated that there is a very bright and positive future for the University of Toledo,” he said.

    One candidate has withdrawn from consideration. Dr. James Scanlon, Youngstown State University's provost, has accepted the presidency at Missouri Western State College, Youngstown State officials announced yesterday.

    The UT applicant pool is typical so far, according to Dr. Allan Ostar, a consultant with Academic Search Consultation Service in Washington who is assisting with the search. He said he would continue to recruit individuals and accept candidates.

    “Despite all of the concern and negative publicity [in the past], that's not deterring some good people from seeing the opportunity,” he said.

    The presidential search committee will meet Jan. 18 and Feb. 6 to evaluate candidates in preparation for initial interviews in February. The university intends to bring finalists to the campus in March.

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