Kent State preparing to search for President Lester Lefton's successor

By Kyle McDonald | Staff Writer Published:

The time has come for Kent State University to begin the process of finding a successor to President Lester Lefton, who last week announced he will retire in July 2014.

"The good news is that Dr. Lefton has provided the board with ample notice so the search committee will have the time to conduct a thorough, in-depth national search to find the right person to follow in Dr. Lefton's footsteps," KSU spokesman Eric Mansfield said, noting that the search is very much in its infancy.

The first step of the presidential search is for Jane Murphy Timken, chairwoman of the KSU Board of Trustees, to select a trustee to lead a search committee.

University policies state that a search committee will include:

Two trustees

Four faculty members, including the faculty senate chair, two Kent campus faculty members and a regional campus faculty member

Two university administrators

The alumni association director

One representative from both the undergraduate and graduate student senates

The polices do give the search committee flexibility to include additional members.

"The board has the policies, but they have a lot of latitude to do this in a way that they see fit," Mansfield said.

The 2005 search committee that selected Lefton consisted of 16 people from different constituencies in the university community, as well as Kent City Manager Dave Ruller, adding city representation in the process.

KSU also set up a website and email address and held five public forums to gain outside input.

Mansfield said the search will have public elements, but isn't likely to disclose candidates early on.

"I think people can understand that if you're the provost at a major university and you have an interest in this role, you may not want your existing boss to know that you're flying to Kent, Ohio to interview," he said. "We might lose out on some great applicants."

Appointing a university president is one of the board of trustees' primary duties, and Mansfield said it should become clearer in the coming weeks how the search committee for Kent State's 12th president will shape up.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1127 or kmcdonald@recordpub.com

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