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The Michigan State University Board of Trustees is seeking proposals to select a firm to lead the search for the university's 21st president, according to a news release.

Dianne Byrum and Melanie Foster, both members of the board and presidential search committee co-chairs, made the announcement Thursday.

“Seeking a firm to lead our presidential search is another step forward in finding the next leader of Michigan State University and we are excited to see this process begin to take shape,” Byrum said in the statement.

The search firm will help MSU officials find "a common understanding of our strengths, weaknesses and the challenges facing our university community.”

University officials are encouraging qualified firms to email their proposal to presidentialsearch@msu.edu.

“During this phase of the presidential search and moving forward, we will continue to call on students, faculty, staff and other key stakeholders to tell us the qualities and characteristics they consider most important in their next MSU president,” Foster said in the statement. “We will continue approaching this process as one Spartan community, which is imperative to a comprehensive, inclusive and successful search for our next president.”

The entire Michigan State University community, including students, faculty, staff and alumni, can follow the presidential search process online at msu.edu/presidentialsearch.

It was previously announced that a 15-member search committee will be identified in August. It will reportedly consist of faculty, students, deans, staff and alumni.

In September, interviews for presidential search firms will be held and a firm will be selected. MSU will continue gathering input on the presidential search from community stakeholders through the summer and continuing into October, the statement said.

The university said candidates will be identified for interviews between this November and January 2019. The Board's end goal is to have a new president announced by June 2019.

The announcement comes after calls in recent months for interim president John Engler to step down. Engler, who took the position in January, has faced criticism from victims of Larry Nassar and other members of the MSU community.

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