Announcements & Reports
September 12, 2012
From President George M. Philip
To the University at Albany Community:
I am very pleased to announce Dr. Robert J. Jones has been appointed the 19th president of the University at Albany. The State University Board of Trustees made the appointment this afternoon, upon his nomination by Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, concluding a national search that attracted candidates from leading research universities across the country. Dr. Jones has served as senior vice president for Academic Administration at the University of Minnesota System for the last eight years. He will assume the UAlbany presidency on Jan. 2, 2013.
A native of Dawson, Georgia, Dr. Jones has more than three decades of higher education leadership experience as well as academic expertise spanning plant physiology and urban and international development.
For the past eight years, he has been responsible for the oversight of a broad portfolio of programs and initiatives that provide core support for academic programs across the University of Minnesota system. Prior to that, Dr. Jones served more than 15 years in key administrative leadership positions at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, including vice president and executive vice provost for faculty and academic programs, vice president for campus life and vice provost for faculty and academic personnel, and interim vice president for student development.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State College, a Master of Science degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. After earning his Ph.D., he joined the University of Minnesota faculty as a professor of agronomy and plant genetics. He is an internationally recognized authority on plant physiology and has published numerous scientific papers, manuscripts and abstracts. His research focuses on the role of cytokinins in stabilizing grain yields of maize against environmental stresses and global climate change. Over his career, he has trained many students who have gone on to leading careers in higher education and research.
Dr. Jones is a fellow of both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. He has been a visiting professor and featured speaker in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, and from 1984 to 1994 served as an academic and scientific consultant for Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s South African Education Program. In 2010, he was awarded a University of Minnesota endowed chair in urban and international development; he was also named a recipient of the Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).
Dr. Jones holds a gubernatorial appointment as a commissioner of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact and serves on the boards of directors for the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities, the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, and the Bush Foundation, among other leadership roles. He is also a member of the Grammy award-winning Sounds of Blackness, a Twin Cities-based choral ensemble.
I am confident Dr. Jones has the experience and talent to lead our University and to strengthen the critical impact we have in preparing students, advancing research and serving our communities. In the months ahead, I look forward to working with him to assure a smooth transition.
On behalf of the University at Albany Search Committee Co-chairs, Dan Tomson and Patricia Caldwell, I extend my deep appreciation to all the members of the University Council and the Presidential Search Committee for their hard work and commitment in fulfilling a successful search for UAlbany’s next president.
Dr. Jones is expected to visit the campus on Friday, Sept. 21 and additional details will be provided in the days ahead. I hope everyone will join me in welcoming Dr. Jones and introducing him to our remarkable community.
George M. Philip
August 15, 2012
The University Council held a special meeting on August 15, 2012, at which a quorum was present, at the State University System Administration Offices, SUNY Plaza in Albany to discuss the campus Presidential search. Members participating by video were at the SUNY Global Center, 116 55th Street, Manhattan. The meeting was called to order at 2:00pm. Mr. Tomson informed the Council that the recent breach in confidentiality in the search required urgent action by the Council to insure the integrity of the search process, thus requiring a waiver of the seven day meeting notice requirement, under Section 356 of the Education Law. Upon motion duly made and seconded (Alric/Stein), the Council unanimously approved the waiver under these circumstances.
Mr. Tomson explained that this stage in the search process required the Council to consider the candidates identified by the search committee and discuss each candidate with the goal of recommending candidates to the Chancellor for her consideration and that of the SUNY Board of Trustees. Upon motion duly made and seconded (Stein/Alric), the Council voted to move into executive session at 2:10pm. During the executive session the Council considered the relative merits of each of the candidates whose names were submitted to it by the search committee. After further discussion, the Council, by acclamation, and in accordance with the SUNY Guidelines for Conducting Presidential Searches, identified acceptable candidates for submission to the Chancellor for consideration for the UAlbany presidency.
The executive session concluded at 4:10pm and, upon motion duly made and seconded (Stein/JeanPierre), the Council moved into open session. Mr. Tomson thanked the members for undertaking this major responsibility. Brief comments were offered by the members on the importance of this assignment and its potential outcome. Mr. Tomson said that he would report the results of the meeting to the Chancellor. There being no further business and upon motion duly made and seconded (Alric/JeanPierre) the meeting adjourned at 4:15pm.
Present: Daniel Tomson (Vice Chair/Presiding Officer), Pierre Alric, Robert Balachandran (by video), Patricia Caldwell (by video), James Jackson (by telephone), Abner JeanPierre, and Michael Stein.
August 1, 2012
The Presidential Search Committee held a conference call August 1, 2012 to review the status of the search process in view of the Albany Times-Union’s publication of names of those they believed to be candidates. Co-chair Patricia Caldwell thanked the members for their dedication to the search process and expressed the frustration and disappointment that Search Committee members have conveyed over the newspaper’s article.
Given the current situation, the committee agreed with the recommendation of the co-chair and search consultant that the search process be accelerated and the candidate recommendations from the committee be sent directly to the University Council for their consideration consistent with the search guidelines. Noting that the search committee itself was widely representative of the campus and reflected the campus constituencies, the committee agreed that this action was necessary to address potentially further breaches of confidentiality and to show respect for the candidates.
July, 26, 2012
The Presidential Search Committee held a series of screening interviews over several days with candidates who had been selected from a larger pool of candidates seen as highly qualified. The interviews focused in depth on the candidate's experience, qualifications, current responsibilities, achievements and relevance to the Presidential position at UAlbany. Following each interview, the committee discussed each candidate with each member of the committee offering commentary and personal assessment which resulted in the selection of those candidates who will move forward in the process.
June 11-13, 2012
On June 11, the Presidential Search Committee met from 9am to 1:30pm to continue its review of proposed candidates for the Presidential position. Dr. Michael Baer and Ms. Pamela Pezzoli, our search consultants, began with detailed reports on the series of interviews they undertook with those individuals that the committee had earlier identified as candidates of interest.
Dr. Baer noted that the candidate pool was strong and diverse, as had been a goal expressed by the Chancellor and the committee. He and Ms. Pezzoli began by describing the background, including education, experience, accomplishments, personal characteristics, interests and values that were expressed by each candidate during their meeting. Following each presentation, the floor was open for comments, questions and in-depth discussion by the members of the committee.
An important aspect of the discussion focused on the career path of each individual and its relevance to UAlbany and the Presidential position. Additionally, questions centered on the goals that each candidate expressed and implemented in their present position and their understanding of the challenges and issues that are facing UAlbany, SUNY and the State.
At the conclusion of the candidate reviews, the committee members were asked to select from those presented who should be invited for preliminary interviews. Each member completed a ballot with her/his choices. The ballots were tabulated and a smaller group was identified. Dr. Baer said that he would contact these individuals to set up screening interviews with the search committee.
As this portion of the meeting came to a close, Dr. Baer submitted the names of a number of individuals who had expressed interest in the position since the last meeting and offered additional comment for consideration.
The discussion then centered on the characteristics of the search as noted in the May 7 report. Dr. Baer said that there continued to be candidates deemed to be highly qualified who were not prepared to formally participate in the search out of concern of public exposure. A lengthy discussion ensued, once again, on the components of an open search compared to a representational search. The committee unanimously supported a representational search and the co-chairs said that they would submit a request to the Chancellor for consideration by the SUNY Board of Trustees, as provided for in the SUNY search guidelines.
On June 13, the co-chairs were informed that the request had been approved. The committee is in the process of setting parameters to meet the goal of further reflecting the campus profile.
May 7, 2012
The Presidential Search Committee met from 2pm to 5:45pm today to review and discuss the pool of proposed candidates for the Presidential position. Dr. Michael Baer and Ms. Pamela Pezzoli, our search consultants, led the discussions.
Prior to the meeting, members of the committee had access to a secure website established by our consulting firm, Isaacson, Miller, and had opportunity to review bios and resumes of the proposed candidates to date. The pool included applicants and nominees along with individuals in established positions nationwide who are in Isaacson, Miller’s network.
The review focused on each individual’s background including relevant experience, accomplishments, etc. The discussions concentrated on each individual’s career path and its bearing to UAlbany’s mission. Individuals were placed in three preliminary categories – those who seemed most qualified, those for whom additional information was needed before a decision might be made, and those who did not seem to have the depth of experience or appropriate experience for the position.
In the latter part of the meeting, a discussion ensued about the nature of the search process, focusing on an open search, whereby semi-final candidates are publically announced compared to what is called a representational search, whereby the names of the semi-finalists are not publically announced. In the former instance, the candidates may be invited to open meetings on campus for members of the campus community, the public at large, and the media to meet and have access to these individuals. It was noted that such a search would likely be deemed more inclusive by the campus community.
In the latter instance, in accordance with the SUNY Search Guidelines, the search committee, the members of the University Council and a limited number of other individuals further representing the campus community would meet the candidates in a more private fashion. Dr. Baer noted that certain candidates who the search committee might see as highly qualified would either not participate in the search or, if they initially did, would withdraw rather than have it known that they are even considering leaving their current position. The committee discussed this aspect of both types of searches. No final decision was made although the members had a better understanding of both types of searches.
The committee will meet again to continue its candidate review with the goal of narrowing the pool and identifying those to be invited to “airport” interviews (screening sessions).
April 6, 2012
Our executive search firm, Isaacson, Miller, has placed an ad of our Presidential position for the next issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education and it is now on their website. In addition, the position is posted on the websites noted below. The consultants have been networking to identify potential candidates and will, in the coming weeks, meet with the Search Committee to discuss the candidate pool at that time, as the process moves toward selecting those to be invited for interviews.
March 20, 2012
The Presidential Search Committee held a second “listening session” at 11am today in the Husted Amphitheater on the Downtown Campus. Members of the University Community were invited to share their comments and views on the Presidential Search with members of the Search Committee. The comments were broad and touched on the characteristics and experiences to be sought in a new President, issues relating to budget program reductions undertaken last fall, the importance of weighing fiscal matters with academic priorities, and the reputation of the institution when compared with the other SUNY University Centers. A Presidential Profile is in the process of being prepared and will be posted on the Presidential Search website.
March 9, 2012
The Presidential Search Committee held the first of two “listening sessions” at 10am today in the Assembly Hall of the Campus Center. Members of the University Community were invited to share their comments and views on the Presidential Search with members of the Search Committee. The comments were wide ranging and focused on the characteristics and experiences sought in a new President, major issues that will face a new President, and the search process itself. The second session will be held on Tuesday, March 20 at 11am in the Husted Amphitheater, Husted Hall 106A.
February 24, 2012
Dr. Michael Baer and Ms. Pamela Pezzoli, our presidential search consultants, held a series of meetings on campus on February 22 and 23 with representatives of various campus constituencies seeking their comments relative to the search for a new President. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others participated in these sessions. Among the groups were the University Senate, the Deans, the Student Association and Graduate Student Organization, the President’s Council on Diversity, the Alumni Association, the UAlbany Foundation, as well as individual meetings with the President and the Provost. These exploratory meetings are designed to gather views on the institution and its future, the challenges and opportunities that are ahead, and the personal characteristics that will be sought in a new President. A Presidential Profile will be prepared with the Search Committee and shared with the campus and wider public. Additional activity and the Presidential Profile will be posted on this website. In addition to the consultant's meetings, the Search Committee met with President Philip to hear his views on the Presidential position.
February 15, 2012
Under the leadership of Co-chairs Patricia Caldwell and Daniel Tomson, the Presidential Search Committee held its first meeting today. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher formally charged the committee with undertaking a search for a new President noting the SUNY Presidential Search Guidelines. She emphasized the importance of diversity in the search process. She highlighted UAlbany’s prominence within SUNY and the region and the opportunities that a new President will have in continuing its development.
Following, the Chancellors remarks, Dr. Tamra Minor, Assistant Vice President for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, spoke to the committee in greater detail about the need to include diversity in the several stages of the search process. Following, Dr. Minor’s presentation, Dr. Michael Baer, of the Executive Search firm of Isaacson, Miller outlined the various steps in such a search and the role that he will play in seeking highly qualified candidates for the committee to consider. He noted that the goal is to both attract qualified candidates and to narrow the pool to those whom the committee feels are best qualified. The members of the Committee signed Confidentiality Agreements. Dr. Baer will be revisiting the campus to consult with various constituent and campus groups in developing a position profile.
February 13, 2012
The University Council announces the formation of the Presidential Search Committee. Following the election of the teaching faculty members on February 6 and confirmation by the Senate Executive Committee on February 8, the remaining members of the committee were appointed.
January 31, 2012
Following the interviews of the five executive search firms that submitted proposals, the University Council selected the firm of Isaacson, Miller to assist in our Presidential Search. They were informed of their selection today.
January 13, 2012
Five executive search firms responded to our Request for Proposals (RFP). The University Council is reviewing and evaluating each proposal and will be interviewing the five representatives on January 23rd in order to select the firm that will assist in the Presidential Search.
December 19, 2011
Requests for Proposals were sent to ten executive search organizations inviting expressions of interest in assisting with our Presidential Search. Responses due by January 13, 2012.
December 9, 2011
University Council Presidential Search Announcement
November 18, 2011
University at Albany President George M. Philip Announces Retirement