Closed Door Meetings For NIU's Final Four Today

Mar 22, 2013

The search for the next president of Northern Illinois University moves forward today… behind closed doors at its Naperville campus. The school’s Board of Trustees will meet with four finalists, whose identities have not been disclosed.

Credit Northern Illinois University

Tomorrow, the four go before a panel of “stakeholders” representing the campus, alumni, and the community in another meeting that’s closed to the public. Members of the stakeholders group signed confidentiality agreements to keep the identities of the candidates secret: students are not part of the process.

The Board of Trustees has posted a public notice that it will hold a special meeting from 8:00 to 4:30 today: "the only intended purpose of the meeting is to go into closed session.” Another closed session board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday from 9:00 to 1:00, again at the Naperville campus.

The process is quite different from the 2000 search that resulted in the hiring of John Peters, who is leaving in June. Finalists were brought to the DeKalb campus for open forums, where students and the public questioned them before the Board of Trustees made its final decision.

The current search is being conducted as a “closed, hybrid-approach” process, as advised by the search firm, Parker Executive Search of Atlanta, Georgia. The official description of the position states that applicants would be “held in  confidence except for finalists.”   NIU’s Board of Trustees stressed the importance of confidentiality in the process when it issued its charge to the search committee last November.                

Former State Superintendent Cites Corruption

Meanwhile, a former Illinoisan rumored to be a candidate for NIU’s top job says he is NOT among the finalists. Former State Superintendent of Education Randy Dunn is president of Murray State University in Kentucky, although his board of regents chose to NOT renew his contract last week. According to the Murray Ledger and Times, Dunn announced in an email that he was not a finalist for NIU’s presidency.

I had looked at the pros and cons of the NIU position. In the end, it was clear to me that they have so many problems up there right now — including alleged corruption on campus — we decided it wasn’t a position to consider further.