Help Wanted: A leader for state’s college system

The Board of Regents for Higher Education is seeking applications and nominations for someone to become the 100,000-student system’s next leader.

The notice — which went out Friday — states those interested must apply by Feb. 15. The board will shortly thereafter conduct interviews and recommend a candidate to the governor. The anticipated start date for the next president is “on or about” July 1.

To conduct the search, the regents hired James H. McCormick, a consultant with ABG Search and former president of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Connecticut’s recent higher education merger of four of the state’s bachelors-degree granting colleges, the dozen community colleges and the online university was modeled after Minnesota’s merged system.

To conduct the search, the regents are paying for McCormick $68,500.

One potential hiccup in landing the system’s next president could be that the incoming president will only have job security for one full school year. State law restricts the board from entering into a contract with a president that guarantees he keep his job after the governor leaves office. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s term ends in December 2014.

Some legislators have indicated they are interested in removing this “coterminous” appointment requirement from the law to remove the politics from higher education administration.

The last president of the board of regents resigned following a series of controversies that involved him unilaterally awarding double-digit percentage pay raises to central office staff, his six weeks spent working remotely from his home in Minnesota and the community college leaders being offered exits from their positions without the governing board’s knowledge.

The complete job listing can be viewed here. The regents set up an advisory board to help with “input and suggestions” surrounding the system’s next president.