University of Missouri leaders are looking for the next leader and they want some help. Current chancellor Brady Deaton will officially retire in November. System president Tim Wolfe wants input from employees.
Several faculty and staff members spent an hour asking the president to find a chancellor who is honest and won't be afraid to shake things up. A good majority of the comments wanted the next chancellor to be able to make hard decisions and change what they describe as a toxic work environment.
The university system is searching for a MU chancellor for the first time in two decades. Wolfe says officials have to be very careful and thorough who they hire. But in order to find that person, Wolfe wants help.
“Quickly come up with a search committee that is charged with a specific criteria, solicit the interest of candidates, and then vet the candidates as quickly as possible. We think we have an advantage in terms of finding the best possible candidate,” Wolfe said.
Everyone that spoke Monday was either faculty or staff. They asked for candidates to have the ability to raise money, be able to stand up to lawmakers, or have a connection to the university. But many other comments were directed at being able to change. They say as good as Deaton was, there were many things he didn't make decisions on and it led to the working environment turning sour.
“I was thinking here, is anybody going to mention integrity and honesty because there are problems with integrity and honesty on administrators with this campus,” MU employee Galen Suppes said.
Others said the next chancellor will have to be mentally strong.
“He or she must have the courage to act on being confident, it's not good enough to think that you're confident, the courage to act on that and more importantly face the criticism,” MU employee Gary Link said.
Wolfe says all the information said in these forums will ultimately help them develop a list of what qualities they want in candidates. He tells ABC 17 News nobody is eliminated right now. But with the bar being as high as they believe it will be, the candidates will probably be someone outside the system.
The UM system is also paying a search firm $100,000 to find the candidates.