One UH presidential finalist left after another pulls out


POSTED: Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents could make a decision tomorrow on who will become the next president of the 10-campus system, board Chairman Allan Landon said yesterday.

Robert Jones, one of two finalists for the position, withdrew his name from consideration, leaving only M.R.C. Greenwood, a former vice chancellor at the University of California system, as the remaining finalist.

“;We'll have to see what the regents think,”; Landon said. “;The field is narrowing. We're down to one candidate for that one job.”;

But Landon said it is still possible the regents will need more time to make a decision.

The 15-member board was split with support for both candidates, Landon said. The chairman said he had begun contract negotiations with both finalists when Jones informed him that he was withdrawing.

“;He and Mrs. Jones were going to talk about it over the weekend,”; Landon said. “;It didn't feel like that right time and that this was the right fit for him.”;

Jones, senior vice president for system administration at the University of Minnesota, has spent his whole career in Minnesota, starting as an assistant professor in 1978 and rising to the second in command at the five-campus system.

Current UH President David McClain is scheduled to leave the position on July 31. The board has said it wants to select a successor by that date.

Salary guidelines for the next UH president are between $450,000 and $550,000 a year.

In an e-mail, J.N. Musto, executive director of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, said, “;At this point, it would likely serve the best interest of the university, and perhaps the state, to continue the search for a new president.”;

State Sen. Robert Bunda, one of six senators who asked the regents to expand the search to include local candidates, said he believes Jones' withdrawal “;should now compel the selection committee to do the right thing and extend the search.”;

On Monday the regents released the Advisory Presidential Selection Committee's 23-page report to the board and a summary, which notes that four candidates with Hawaii ties were among 14 semifinalists interviewed for the position.

The committee said the three finalists chosen were “;clearly superior”; to the other candidates.

The third finalist withdrew his name before the public forums. The committee said the unnamed candidate decided he needed to deal with “;recent budget developments”; at his university and would not allow his name to be made public.

A six-page supplement in the report also explained the committee's vetting of ethical concerns about Greenwood's participation in the approval of the hiring and compensation of a friend and co-owner of an investment property while she was senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of California system in 2004.

The vetting included interviews with colleagues and the former University of California general counsel.

The committee concluded the mistake was “;inadvertent.”;

The report said Greenwood thought she had divested herself of the interest in the house when the decisions were made.

“;She has accepted responsibility for her mistake and apologized for it,”; the committee said. “;She has assured the committee that she has learned a lesson from this matter.”;




M.R.C. Greenwood

        » Current position: Director, Foods for Health Initiative, University of California, Davis; chancellor emerita, UC-Santa Cruz

» Age: 66


» Background: Former provost and senior vice president for academic affairs in the UC system; former White House associate director of Office of Science and Technology Policy; UC-Santa Cruz chancellor from July 1996 to April 2004; elected to the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academies; fellow, past president and board chairwoman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


What's next?


        » Tomorrow: UH Board of Regents holds a closed-door meeting on the presidential selection at 9 a.m. at Bachman Hall, continuing discussions begun at the regents' meeting Friday in Hilo.

» Monday: Another meeting is set for 9 a.m. Monday at UH-Manoa Campus Center.