Search for University President Narrows

The search for the University of Central Oklahoma’s 21st president has been narrowed down to seven finalists and interviews are being held in late January into early February to further the process along.

The search began with 62 applicants, which was narrowed down to 12 candidates by the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents. After reviewing video interviews on Jan. 7, RUSO narrowed the list to eight finalists, before one dropped, leaving seven finalists.

The regents collected a recommended list of qualities from a group of UCO staff members and students. These qualities include: visionary; strategic and operational leadership skills; good financial judgment; ability to collaborate; and be a relentless advocate of greatness.

“Ultimately our goal is to find the most qualified person to lead UCO to the future and to continue the work of President Don Betz,” said RUSO Chair Mark Stansbury.

There is a 19-member committee made up of UCO faculty and students, local business owners and regents that selected the candidates they thought were best, according to Regent Amy Ford.

“Excellence is a critical part of the UCO culture,” Ford said. “UCO provides a learning center, research and education experience for all its faculty and students.”

However, some UCO students are not satisfied with the way RUSO is handling the search for the new president. Former student body president Stockton Duvall said his biggest issue is transparency.

The governor appoints regents for a 9-year term, and Duvall said it can be too easy to appoint regents that are more geared toward business than academics or higher education. Duvall’s concern is that the next president will be closer to a political nomination than someone who is in the circle of higher education and knows what students’ concerns are.

RUSO has stated that they do not give out names due to confidentiality and the hopes that more qualified candidates will apply if their names are not known so they still have job security.

The next interviews for the seven finalists will be on Jan. 28. Ford said this will be different than other interviews the board has conducted because the applicants will be there to answer questions in person. If needed, another set of interviews will go into the beginning of February.

Share This