A tale of two university search committees

The shrouded process by which Colorado State University is searching for its first-ever system chancellor offers a striking contrast to the public disclosure by the University of Idaho in its recruitment of a new campus chief.

Ironically, ex-CSU president Larry Penley figures prominently in both stories.

Penley abruptly resigned from the university in Nov. following revelations, first reported by The Colorado Independent, that he was redirecting massive amounts in revenues to his own office and staff and away from the faculty and students, bloating top executive and other salaries and compensation at the public institution in a manner reminiscent of recently disgraced Wall Street firms.

Shortly after leaving CSU, Penley surfaced as a leading candidate to become president of Idaho’s Moscow campus.

Penley’s hotfoot out of town set the CSU Board of Governors to push through a controversial decision to split the traditionally dual role of president and chancellor at the Fort Collins campus. But the whole process has been fairly shrouded in secrecy with CSU spokeswoman Michelle McKinney telling the Colorado Independent:

“…high-caliber applicants would be reluctant to apply for the position if it was policy to reveal their names. The concern is that news of a failed application would land as a stain on their resumes.”

I wonder if Penley wishes the Vandals were a bit more tight-lipped?

The Boise press has written extensively about the presidential search process including salary negotiations and spats between the committee and campus community over the hiring.

Idaho announced Wednesday that it will hire its previous top pick Kansas State University Provost Kevin Nellis in a surprising reversal after he initially rejected the school’s original compensation package and a mad scramble ensued to find the boosted salary demand.

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