OSU Board of Trustees approves presidential search timeline, Reser Stadium video board project

A+Board+of+Trustees+meeting+was+held+in+the+Memorial+Union+on+the+Oregon+State+University+Corvallis%2C+Ore.+campus+and+broadcast+online+on+Dec.+10.+The+board+discussed+the+presidential+search+timeline+and+Reser+Stadium+video+board+project+during+the+meeting%2C+which+occurs+quarter-annually.

Sam Misa, Photographer

A Board of Trustees meeting was held in the Memorial Union on the Oregon State University Corvallis, Ore. campus and broadcast online on Dec. 10. The board discussed the presidential search timeline and Reser Stadium video board project during the meeting, which occurs quarter-annually.

Sam Misa, News Contributor

Oregon State University’s presidential search will begin in January 2022 and a replacement video board for Reser Stadium has been approved following a Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 10. 

The deadline for selecting a new OSU president has been set as the end of May 2022 after both the presidential search firm and search committee were assembled in November to find a new president following former president F. King Alexander’s resignation in March 2021. 

“[The search committee] is a dynamic, diverse committee that I think really represents OSU’s values and a broad perspective in terms of the type of individual that we seek as our next president,” said Julie Manning, member of the Board and committee chair, during the meeting.

The search committee includes OSU trustees, faculty members, students, administrators, staff and alumni. 

Their first meeting will likely be held in early January 2022, according to Manning, and the outreach sessions—where the committee and firm will be searching for candidates—are expected to begin after this meeting.

In the meantime, the committee is expected to make final additions to their roster that include perspectives of Indigenous people. The search committee being formed, according to Manning, is larger and includes more representation than the committee for the previous presidential search.

“We are also finalizing a committee selection that will include Indigenous perspectives as well,” Manning said. “In selecting the search committee, each of these individuals really does wear multiple hats in terms of the depth and breadth of the perspectives and the voice that they will bring to the process. It’s a slightly larger search committee that includes additional faculty representation than the previous search committee.”

According to David Belshaw, partner at Isaacson, Miller—the search firm chosen to help OSU recruit and review presidential candidates—oftentimes when an initial pool of candidates is selected, they are put through a vetting process to cross-check their reputations, which typically involves the search committee visiting the workplaces of the candidates.

Belshaw said he has seen this vetting process used for presidential candidates, but said they are often very curated, requiring a significant amount of time that doesn’t necessarily yield valuable information. Instead, Belshaw said he would prefer the search committee to send secret investigators or “secret shoppers” to go and investigate the candidates.

“We also believe in having a diverse list of references in terms of not just their peers, not just people that look like them,” Belshaw said. “It’s amazing how many reference lists you get of a 60-year-old white guy and everybody else on the list is a 60-year-old white guy, and they all have the same blind spot. So having role diversity, gender diversity, generational diversity, and then I think for a high stakes search like this, we would also want to employ a private investigator.”

From late March 2022 to early May 2022, the search committee is expected to review candidates, conduct background checks and due diligence, determine and announce finalists and have finalists visit the university.  At that time, the committee will consider feedback from the community and stakeholders. 

“This working timeline represents our goal of selecting a new president by the end of the [2021-22] academic year, and we will continue to refine the goals or the timeline with input,” Manning said.

OSU students and community members can follow the presidential search via OSU’s Presidential Search website.

Following approval of the presidential search timeline and process was a presentation on the Office of Audit Risk and Compliance progress report by Patti Snopkowski, chief executive of audit risk and compliance.

According to Snopkowski, the Office of Audit Risk and Compliance audited themselves during 2021 and also brought in external auditors to help with the process. The office also reviewed OSU fiscal operations associated with paying expenses, paying employees and collecting revenue, in addition to treasury functions.

“As you know, these are all essential business functions,” said Snopkowski. “Our goal of these audits is really to help ensure that the processes in place demonstrate our strong stewardship over the funds that we’re all entrusted to. We’re trying to prevent losses from inefficiency from ineffectiveness, as well as fraud and non-compliance.”

During the meeting, the board also considered the approval of stage two of the Reser Stadium video board capital project, which is separate from the current Reser Stadium renovation. This video board project intends to replace the current board due to age and other problems.

According to Scott Barnes, vice president and director of Intercollegiate Athletics, the video board project was supposed to move forward in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed it. 

“Not only does this project enhance the fan experience mightily, but there’s a sense of urgency because of how old and unreliable the current video board is,” Barnes said. “It literally is the oldest in all of Power Five Football by four years… we’ve been holding our breath hoping that we’d make it through even this season without any challenges.”

According to Bruce Daly, associate vice president for University Facilities, Infrastructure and Operations, he and Barnes will manage the video board’s installation and oversight separately from the Reser Stadium renovation.

“If we were to combine it with [the Reser Stadium renovation] that would just simply cost the project more money; we’d have to pay overhead to the contractor,” Daly said. “We’re going to manage that, as we’ve always intended, in-house.”

Barnes said though the video board project is standalone, it is expected to converge with the early stages of Reser’s Stadium construction sometime in 2022.