UH Regents’ Presidential Search Group Gets Cracking on Business

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents' presidential selection committee agreed today that the university's next chief executive officer should have "strong ties" to Hawaii. But whether regents will be hiring a headhunting firm remains to be seen.

The committee met this afternoon to plan the next steps of its search for the university’s next president.

Honolulu Regent John Holzman, who’s heading the effort, divided the seven committee members into three task groups: one that will delineate with selection criteria, one that will develop an outreach plan and one that will deliberate over the use of a search firm, which Holzman dubbed “professional help.” The task groups, Holzman noted, would not be subject to the Sunshine Law.

Committee members also spent some time brainstorming parameters for their search process.

They deliberated over how they’re going to work with constituencies, including faculty, students and other stakeholder groups. Some members suggested arranging a cohort of nonvoting advisory groups that would work alongside the committee. Others said they want to appoint representatives of those constituencies as committee members.

The committee also plans to reach out to the general public through a new website that will contain all things related to the presidential search, including news, meeting announcements and a social media feed. UH is also setting up a new email address to which community members can send suggestions or concerns. 

Meantime, Holzman cited concerns over how the board conducted the last presidential search, particularly how “open” it was. Instead of selecting several candidates to come to Hawaii and then vie for the position publicly, the committee this time around should settle on one candidate before vetting the selection with the public, Holzman said.

Last time, two of the candidates dropped out at the eleventh hour. M.R.C. Greenwood, who abruptly announced last month that she’s retiring after the summer, was not one of the candidates selected by the search firm. 

The next committee meeting is scheduled for early July. 

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Committee members look at a mock-up of the new presidential search webpage. 

— Alia Wong

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