OU seeks diverse pool to find next president

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

Rochester — Oakland University outlined qualities it will seek in its seventh president as a national search launches for the next leader to replace President George Hynd, who’s contract will not be renewed.

OU’s next president will come from a diverse pool of candidates and be granted a five-year contract, board chair Richard DeVore said during the trustees meeting on Monday before the board approved a search committee.

“We’re not going to focus on one single criteria, but multiple,” DeVore said.

The eight-member presidential search committee that will oversee the process includes trustees Ronald Robinson, Mark Schlussel and Melissa Stolicker, along with DeVore. Four other members will be announced Friday and include representation for the faculty and community members. Regular communication and open forums will follow, university officials said.

“One of the keys to this process is we are going to rely on overcommunication,” said DeVore, adding the process will be closed until there are two or three candidates, then open.

It will hire a national search firm by Dec. 5 to find candidates for OU’s next president. The committee will make recommendations to the board, who will hire the new president as soon as practical but no later than Aug. 13.

Karen Miller, former president of the American Association of University Professor, Oakland University chapter, spoke before the board and told members they were supportive of the board to include faculty in the search.

“So that we may be confident in our next generation of leadership, it is important that all constituencies, including the faculty, have a voice in the process,” said Miller, an associate professor of history.

Hynd, president since August 2015, will not remain in the post following an university announcement last month that his three-year contract would not be renewed.

During his tenure, Hynd endured a few controversies, including hiking tuition 8.48 percent, the largest tuition increase for public universities in 2015, and a trip with trustees to Florida to court big donors. But university leaders depicted Hynd as someone who was hired to be a transitional leader to bring stability to the university during fragmented leadership.

Hynd replaced interim OU President Betty Youngblood, appointed after the 18-year tenure of former OU President Gary Russi. Russi retired suddenly in June 2013 and made the announcement on the same day as the firing of his wife, former OU university basketball coach Beckie Francis.

Hynd, 68, will serve until his contract expires Aug. 14, 2017.

In other news, Tonya Allen, president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation, joined the board for an eight-year term, through 2024, following an appointment by Gov. Rick Snyder.

She joined newcomer Marianne Fey, a business consultant from of Birmingham, who will serve through 2020 to fill out the unexpired term of Scott Kunselman, hired by the university to a new executive position last year.

Former Michigan Republican Party Chair Robert Schostak will also serve through 2024 after being appointed in December to fill Kunselman’s seat.

Allen and Schostak are replacing OU Trustees Richard Flynn and Michael Kramer, whose terms expired.