Board may take new route with chancellor search

By Chase Myers, @chasemyers_DE

As the July 16 date for the Board of Trustees regular meeting approaches, members, alongside President Randy Dunn, will deliberate the next move in the currently suspended chancellor search.

“We will have a search committee at the campus level again … but we will more than likely hire an outside consultant to assist us in this process and generate more leads,” Randall Thomas, chairman of the SIU Board of Trustees, said.

The board used a similar strategy last year when electing President Dunn for his executive position, Thomas said.


Both Thomas and President Dunn agree it would be more effective to hire a search firm when conducting the next search, but the idea has not been brought up to the board at this time, Thomas said.

He said the new search will not take place soon because summer class sessions are underway.

The initial search was halted June 8 after favored candidate Sabah Randhawa, provost and executive vice president of Oregon State University, withdrew his candidacy.

Thomas said Randhawa did not accept the offer as chancellor because of the current economic situation in Illinois. Randhawa has not returned multiple phone calls requesting a comment about his withdrawal.

The decision not to offer the chancellor position to Provost Susan Ford, the other finalist, was for personal issues addressed by the board, Thomas said. Ford will remain provost and in charge of academic affairs.

“I am happy to continue as provost,” she said. “My heart is 100 percent in this job and in helping the university.”

The suspension of the chancellor search will be one of many topics approached during the board’s regular meeting next month.


Although there is no permanent chancellor, the organization and duties of the position will remain constant in the near future, President Randy Dunn said.

“One of the most critical elements needed right now is stability in that position,” President Dunn said. “Their thinking hasn’t changed about the position generally going forward, but given the challenges in front of the campus … I think they just decided to pull back and take a look once again at others who may be available in trying to get the best person that we can for the position at this time.”

Dunn will maintain his dual-roles as president and chancellor. He said it is not a noticeable burden for the university but does slow down operating capabilities.

“Over the long haul, to take on new initiatives, projects for improvement and things of that nature, it does become more challenging to get that done without a permanent person in both the presidency and the chancellorship,” he said. 

Dunn said he hopes that with a permanent chancellor he will be able to give as much attention to the university systems as well as campus issues he initially planned on pursuing when he was appointed president.