Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And then there was one

Posted By on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 6:00 PM

If you're looking to place a bet on President Dennison's replacement, you may want to keep an eye on UM Provost Royce Engstrom.

Royce Engstrom
  • Royce Engstrom

In a cleverly worded release from UM this afternoon, Clayton Christian, who chairs the state Board of Regents and the presidential search advisory committee, announced Engstrom was among three finalists recommended by the committee, and would interview at all four UM campuses in mid-September. So, who are the other candidates?

Well, first you had to read the title of the release: "Provost named finalist for UM presidency." Then the first line: "University of Montana Provost Royce Engstrom has been named a finalist for the UM presidency..." Then the brief bio on Engstrom: "Engstrom, who was born in Michigan and raised in Nebraska, has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at UM since 2007. He came to Montana after a national search from a similar position at the University of South Dakota."

Then, you had to read Christian's quote, which talks about a thorough national search and the committee recommending three "superbly qualified individuals as potential finalists." Yeah, yeah, yeah — but who else is in the running?

Christian said one of the individuals identified as a potential finalist accepted a position at another prestigious university and the other elected to withdraw.

Oh.

It's far from a done deal, but Engstrom would appear to be the leader in the clubhouse. And he's a little lonely in there.

Here's the full release:

PROVOST NAMED FINALIST FOR UM PRESIDENCY

MISSOULA —

University of Montana Provost Royce Engstrom has been named a finalist for the UM presidency, said Clayton Christian, who chairs the state Board of Regents and the presidential search advisory committee.

Engstrom, who was born in Michigan and raised in Nebraska, has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at UM since 2007. He came to Montana after a national search from a similar position at the University of South Dakota.

“After a thorough national search that attracted many outstanding applicants from throughout the country, the committee recommended three superbly qualified individuals as potential finalists to be invited for campus interviews,” Christian said. “Among this distinguished group is Provost Engstrom, who will interview for the position on all four UM campuses in mid-September.”

Christian said one of the individuals identified as a potential finalist accepted a position at another prestigious university and the other elected to withdraw.

In describing the process going forward, he said the search advisory committee will review evaluations of Engstrom from the multi-campus interviews and provide its overall assessment to Commissioner of Higher Education Sheila Stearns.

According to board policy, Stearns makes the decision whether to recommend Engstrom to the full Board of Regents, which will make the final decision about whether to offer him the position as UM’s 17th president. If this doesn’t happen, the search advisory committee will reconvene and then determine how to continue the national search.

UM President George M. Dennison planned to step down Aug. 15 but indicated he would serve through the fall semester if needed. Christian said, “We appreciate President Dennison's continuing leadership. We fully expect to complete the search no later than Jan. 1, 2011.”

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