Dec 232008
Authors: Elyse Jarvis


After deliberation, discussion and statewide speculation spanning over a month’s time, the CSU System Board of Governors concluded Tuesday that it will split the positions of CSU-Fort Collins president and CSU system chancellor, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

Meeting in public forum, the board discussed the role and mission of the system and, after reviewing leadership models from universities across the country, came to the consensus that the positions should be separate, said Michele McKinney, BOG spokesperson.

“There was no vote, and no formal action taken,” McKinney said. “(The board members) all came to agreement that that’s the direction they’d like to see university go in.”

Next, she said, the BOG will begin the process of scheduling meetings in which CSU stakeholders can voice their thoughts regarding what characteristics and experience a future system chancellor should hold.

Though a search committee to hire the president and chancellor has not yet been established, the board intends to organize the stakeholder meetings to take place within the next 30 to 60 days, McKinney said.

The meetings’ findings will determine whether the search process will be statewide or nationwide.

“There are many steps in the process, but we are moving forward,” she said.

The new role is one that, formerly, CSU-Fort Collins presidents were responsible for taking on in addition to university presidential duties, with the CSU-Pueblo president reporting to the CSU-Fort Collins president.

Following former CSU President Larry Penley’s abrupt departure Nov. 5, the BOG said it felt a split may be necessary. Having an authority based in Denver to represent student needs to the state legislature, they said, may be most beneficial for the entire system. The system is made up of both CSU-Fort Collins, CSU-Pueblo and CSU-Global.

Last month, both retiring Sen. Wayne Allard and former State Rep. Bernie Buescher expressed interest in the chancellor role prior to its official existence.

Tuesday, Buescher he would like to see a job description for the chancellor position prior to declaring that he will seek after it.

“I’m interested, but I’m going to really reserve my thoughts until I see what the (board members) do and what the job description looks like,” he said. “In concept, (the job) sounds good, but the devil is always in the details, and I’d like to look at that before I express real, solid interest.”

Buescher said he is also in talks with Gov. Bill Ritter, D-Colo., to become Colorado’s next secretary of state. He said he suspects he will know whether he will be offered that position within the next month.

He did not comment as to whether he would take the secretary of state position should it be offered to him, saying he would “cross that bridge when (he gets) there.”

While Steve Wymer, a spokesperson for Allard, said the former senator does not have a clear description of the job’s details either, “(Allard’s) interest absolutely does still exist, and he looks forward to any formal invitation to apply.”

“(Allard) would like to have his name considered for the position,” Wymer said.

Wymer said Allard would be an ideal figure to take on a fundraising, public relations and legislative position for the CSU system, as these are rumored to be what the board would like to see in a chancellor.

In expressing his desire to work with the university, Allard is also interested in who the CSU-Fort Collins president will be, Wymer said.

“He obviously has a good relationship with Tony Frank and would look forward to working with him,” Wymer said.

Frank took up the CSU-Fort Collins helm following Penley’s departure. BOG chair Doug Jones and Rich Schweigert, chief executive officer of CSU Global, have since shared the chancellor’s duties.

Penley’s attention to the Fort Collins campus came under criticism recently, as some university figures felt most of his time was spent in areas outside of the university, forcing his on-campus colleagues to pick up the responsibilities at home.

Rick Miranda, current dean of the college of natural sciences and candidate for interim university provost, said the difference between Penley’s presidency and Frank’s is akin to a swing from one end of the pendulum to the other in terms of budget priorities and internal involvement.

Frank’s ascension, Miranda said, can be credited to both his experience at CSU and Penley’s lack of interior focus, and he said the position split between chancellor and CSU-Fort Collins president will allow the president more time on campus.

“I would hope that it would never swing back to the other end of the spectrum (which had less internal involvement),” Miranda said. “(That) would mean whoever the next provost is would have a little less power over things than Tony Frank did, and that would be healthy.”

The BOG will decide where and when the first stakeholders meeting will take place in the next week and a half.

McKinney said she anticipates the meetings will take place on the CSU-Fort Collins and CSU-Pueblo campuses, in Denver and, potentially, in the outlying western slopes and the northeastern corner of the state.

“All of those decisions,” McKinney reiterated, “will need to be determined.”

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at

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