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  • When it comes to quality of education, there must be no compromise
  • Posted By:
  • Tom A.
  • Posted On:
  • 08-Dec-2014
  • When it was time for the University of Las Vegas to hire a new president, a search was launched nationwide at a cost of $150,000. A head hunter was appointed to interview and short list candidates. The choice was made after a lot of effort wherein shortlisted candidates visited the university in person to meet the faculty members, students and administrators.

    After all the effort, the university took the help of the Board of Regents which oversees Higher Education system in Nevada to hire Len Jessup, a former University of Arizona president. He is an expert fundraiser and a management professional.

    While so much effort goes into appointing a college president, other posts in colleges are filled up without much ado. This is a cause for concern as the very quality of education we impart to our students, the future torch bearers of our country, is in question here.

    Executive posts in universities are key posts that influence the direction in which our higher education is heading. Recently, Nevada System of Higher Education CEO, Chancellor Dan Klaich did not take the help of the board of regents to appoint his second in command, executive vice chancellor.

    This post required the person to be based in Las Vegas and oversee the Desert Research Institute, College of Southern Nevada, Nevada State College and UNLV. He wanted to hand over the responsibility to the newly appointed vice chancellor leaving him free to focus on wider issues like lobbying, budgeting and interacting with presidents from various statewide campuses.

    What Klaich did was to post announcements of his intentions on online job posting sites, NSHE websites and two Nevada newspapers. He did not take the services of any head hunter for this major task.

    A total of 15 candidates responded to his ads and Klaich did not like any of them. What he then did was to appoint for the job Catherine Cortez Masto, the termed-out attorney general. Board of Regents, understandably was not happy with his decision.

    We never know, maybe Cortez Masto is the perfect person for the job, in her capacity as having been one of the best attorney generals. To her credit, she was also given the job to explore education reforms through a national fellowship.

    The role of a vice chancellor is a really important one. Don’t you think the search for a candidate for this post should have been more aggressive? We will never really know if Nevada did get the right person for the job.

    Recruiting executives to posts that are involved in shaping the future of our education must be made with more caution. Most executive posts have a large influence on the direction of our higher education. States like Nevada cannot ignore the importance of screening a large number of candidates before appointing the right one for the post.

    A wider search should be initiated for such posts and the right candidates must be short listed and screened for expertise. This is one of the important aspects that will ensure that there is no undue compromise on the quality of our higher education.


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