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Trustee-faculty group studying presidential search

STANFORD -- The search for a successor to President Donald Kennedy probably will begin formally in early- to mid-October, according to Board of Trustees President James C. Gaither.

In the meantime, at Gaither's request, a group of trustees and faculty members is studying search alternatives for consideration by the full board at its Sept. 16-17 meeting.

As one of its first tasks, the ad hoc Committee on Presidential Selection Process, headed by trustee Dr. Linda Hawes Clever, is soliciting faculty opinion on how to organize the search. A letter was to go out this week to academic council members, she said.

The ad hoc committee is limiting its work to discussion of how the search might be conducted. Defining a job description, qualifications and qualities trustees will seek in Stanford's new president will come later, Clever said.

"Any proposals are fair game," Clever said.

She outlined a broad-based process of "inclusiveness" in the search for an "Olympian leader who can do the decathlon."

However, Clever also expressed concern about how the trustees can conduct a search with wide participation and community awareness, yet maintain confidentiality for candidates. The confidentiality issue, she said, will "affect the size and structure" of the process.

Two of the search alternatives under discussion include: 1) a single medium-size committee representing all constituencies, and 2) dual committees with a faculty-student-alumni group closely consulting with a trustee committee.

"We want the broadest representation," Clever said. "Age diversity is on people's minds, as well as all other kinds of diversity."

Clever predicted a "massive job at the front end to get all kinds of perspectives," but a small number of people "involved in the last stage of evaluating specific candidates."

The Board of Trustees will make the final selection of a president to replace Kennedy, who announced July 29 that he would step down in August 1992.

Clever did not predict how long Stanford's search might take, but said it would "move along briskly without sacrificing anything. There will be enough time for thought, reflection, fairness, gathering impressions of others," she said.

In an Aug. 8 letter asking eight trustees to serve on the consulting team, Gaither said he hoped the board could approve a suggested process at its September meeting so that the appropriate search committee or committees could be appointed. Trustees also will have a preliminary discussion on the president's job description, and qualifications and personal qualities they will be seeking.

In addition to Clever, the ad hoc committee includes trustees Robert Bass, Roger Clay Jr., Dr. David Hamburg, Henry Muller Jr., Luis Nogales, Susan Prager and James Ukropina.

Faculty members are Profs. David Clayton, developmental biology and incoming Advisory Board chair; James Sheehan, history and incoming Faculty Senate chair; Barbara Babcock, law; and Stephen Harris, electrical engineering and applied physics. Babcock and Harris were nominated by the Faculty Senate Committee on Committees. Alana Wilson is staffing the committee.

The ad hoc group convened for a two-hour conference call Thursday, Aug. 22, with one member checking in from Switzerland. Also participating were Goodwin Liu, a member of the Associated Students council of presidents last year, and, representing alumni interests, William Stone, president of the Stanford Alumni Association, and Mariann Byerwalter, chair of the association's board of directors.

Clever said the group reviewed materials it had received about presidential searches by Stanford and other universities, and asked for additional information. Her team has gathered information and opinions from officials at Princeton, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Occidental, where similar searches are under way or were recently completed.

The committee also discussed the use of search firms. Clever said that "some believe we can do a splendid job on our own because we have splendid people to do the job." Others, she said, think that "a search firm could have value in a limited way."

As part of the consulting process, in mid-August, Clever and Gaither discussed faculty participation with Clayton; Sheehan; Charles Kruger, mechanical engineering and outgoing Faculty Senate chair; and Halsey Royden, mathematics and outgoing Advisory Board chair.

Clever also has visited the Advisory Board, the Cabinet Committee on Budget and Strategic Planning, and the Faculty Senate's ad hoc Committee on Education and Scholarship, a faculty group developing a vision of what Stanford should be. A committee representative also will meet with the Senate Steering Committee and the University Cabinet, which includes the seven deans. Plans also are being finalized for a conference call with representatives of the Stanford Associates fund- raising group..

Individuals or groups wishing to comment on the first stage of the search process are asked to contact the ad hoc committee by Sept. 6 through either: Dr. Linda Hawes Clever, Department of Occupational Health, California Pacific Medical Center, Pacific Campus - Stanford 139, Clay & Buchanan Streets, San Francisco, CA 94120 (fax: 885-8683); or Alana Wilson, 857 Serra Street, Stanford, CA 94305-6230 (electronic mail: AU.ADW@Forsythe).

Suggestions about specific presidential candidates will be sought after appointment of the search committee or committees.



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