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Miami names members of Presidential Search Committee

By Emily Tate, Managing Editor

This week, Miami University announced the nine members of its Presidential Search Committee - the group tasked with selecting the university's next president.

The committee includes two members of the Board of Trustees, Chair David Budig ('84) and Vice Chair Mark Ridenour ('82), as well as Senior Vice President of Financial and Business Services David Creamer, who is assuming the senior administrator position on the search committee.

The committee also includes three faculty representatives and one undergraduate student.

The three faculty members are Linda Marchant, a professor of anthropology; Glenn Platt, marketing professor and director of the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media Studies; and Ann Rypstra, biology professor and director of the Ecology Research Center. All three faculty have been teaching at Miami for nearly two decades - 1996, 1993 and 1982, respectively.

Two of these - Marchant and Rypsta - are members of the Miami chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). The AAUP slated Marchant and Rypstra as the faculty representatives.

Karen Dawisha, political science professor and co-president of the AAUP, said she is pleased to see the AAUP represented on the committee.

"I think we are extremely well served by the three faculty," Dawisha said. "They are all well regarded, with excellent reputations internationally."

Although the AAUP did not slate Platt, Dawisha said he is a strong representative of the values many faculty hope the committee will prioritize in the search.

Already, the AAUP has been particularly active in the presidential search. The group submitted a petition to the Board of Trustees earlier this semester, in which the 143 faculty signers requested the board invite at least two finalists to campus in the spring.

Rypstra and Marchant both endorsed the terms of the petition.

Budig denied the request for multiple finalists at the Sept. 25 board meeting, but the AAUP remains dedicated to its involvement in the search.

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The undergraduate representative on the search committee is junior Ifeolu Claytor, a political science and social justice studies major. Claytor is also involved in Miami's Associated Student Government, serving as secretary for diversity affairs.

As the sole student voice on the committee, Claytor said he will do his best to represent the entire student body during the search.

"It is my goal to represent the students by taking in ideas from anyone who would like to offer it," he said. "I expect and welcome students' input."

Claytor said he is confident in the makeup of the search committee, as most are alumni and have Miami's best interest in mind.

Others on the committee include Susan Naus ('67), Miami University Foundation Chair and former member of the Miami University Alumni Association's (MUAA) board of directors, and alumni representative Ted Downing ('68). Downing is a former MUAA president and has served on the College of Education, Health and Society Advisory Council.

The announcement Tuesday came later than anticipated.

At the Sept. 25 Board of Trustees meeting, Budig said the committee composition would be announced the following week.

"At the June meeting of this board, we established the composition of the search committee, and we expect to name the members by early next week," he said at the meeting.

Instead, Miami named those members Tuesday, almost two weeks later.

Secretary of the Board of Trustees Ted Pickerill said technological issues caused the delay, as it prevented a proper vote for determining the faculty members on the committee.

The Presidential Search Committee will work in tandem with the Board of Trustees and executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to identify Miami's next president - the replacement for President David Hodge, who is retiring June 30, 2016.

Dawisha described some of the qualities she and others in the AAUP hope the next president will embody.

"We want a president who will, above all, make a recommitment that providing the best education to our students is the No. 1 priority of our university," she said. "It's not intercollegiate athletics, it's not the Miami experience - the core mission of this university is education."

The search is expected to last six to nine months, with the finalist named sometime next spring.