Cairo Association of Teachers - Newsletter

CAT Tracks for May 11, 2006

IL State Superintendent Randy Dunn is apparently on the verge of being named the next President of Murray State University. Dunn's pending appointment has raised objections among members of the University Board of Regents and other campus constituencies.

From the Paducah Sun...

MSU may select Dunn today

SIU administrator reportedly agrees to take job without unanimous support.

By Bill Bartleman

MURRAY, Ky. - The Murray State University Board of Regents will hold a special meeting tonight and is expected to name Dr. Randy J. Dunn as the school's president.

The scheduling of the meeting came as a surprise after Board Chairman Don Sparks announced Saturday that the presidential search would continue into the fall and be expanded to include more candidates.

Sparks made those comments after a six-hour closed-door meeting in which board members could not reach a clear consensus among three finalists who visited the campus last week.

Terry Strieter, the faculty regent, said the decision to expand the search apparently was scrapped on Wednesday after Dunn decided to accept the presidency with a less than unanimous or near-unanimous vote among the 11 board members.

He said that Dunn told the board last week that he would not accept the presidency without a near-unanimous vote but apparently changed his mind after talking this week with his supporters on the board.

"The vote will be either 6-5 or 7-4," Strieter said.

The special meeting was requested by board members Beverly Ford and Marilyn Buchanon, board member Alan Stout of Marion said.

Stout said he's been told that a motion will be made to name Dunn the next president. He anticipates Dunn will be approved.

Stout would not say how he'll vote, saying he has an open mind and will listen to comments made in an executive session. No matter how he votes, Stout said he'll support the decision of the majority and hopes that other campus constituencies will do the same.

The other finalists were MSU associate provost Tim Todd and University of Houston-Victoria President Tim Hudson. Hudson withdrew his name from consideration Saturday. Attempts to reach Todd Wednesday night were unsuccessful.

In a faculty vote Friday, Dunn was the third choice among the three finalists, Strieter said. Hudson got 43 votes, Todd had 36 and Dunn had one, Strieter said.

Other board members contacted Wednesday by the Sun declined comment in advance of the meeting, scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. in the Commonwealth Room of the Curris Center.

Sparks was in a meeting Wednesday evening and could not be reached for comment.

Strieter said faculty members he talked with Wednesday were not pleased with the turn of events and the apparent decision to pick Dunn to replace Dr. King Alexander, who resigned at the end of last year to become president of the University of California at Long Beach.

Among the faculty concerns is Dunn's lack of experience as a higher education administrator.

Dunn, 48, is state school superintendent in Illinois, overseeing the state's elementary and secondary school system. He is on leave from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he has been employed since 1995. He is a professor and former chairman of the department of educational administration and higher education there.

His appointment as state superintendent doesn't expire until January, which could delay the effective date of his presidency. In a visit to the campus last week, he said he would spend vacation time and free weekends on the MSU campus until he is able to assume the presidential duties full time.

Strieter said Dunn's supporters on the board feel he's articulate, has the ability to deal with politicians, would be good at raising funds and his connections with Illinois schools would help in recruiting students.

The faculty concerns are that his highest administrative post has been as a department chairman, Strieter said. He said as a chairman, Dunn doesn't have the necessary experience in dealing with budgets and administrative issues. "It also bothers faculty members that he has been out of the classroom for quite a few years," Strieter said.

Faculty members are likely to have a negative reaction to a Dunn presidency and could meet to take formal action to express their views, Strieter said.

Stout said he's concerned about the lack of support from the faculty, but pointed out the that the faculty opposed the appointment of Alexander as president four years ago.

Alexander quickly earned the support of most faculty members, and many tried to convince him to remain as MSU president.

"The faculty is one factor in the equation ... but there are many other considerations that go into the decision," Stout said. He said the "big picture" is how the president can fulfill the mission of the university to serve the region through extended campus programs and helping the secondary schools.

Breaking news from the WPSD Channel 6 website...

Murray State University Selects President

Anna Prendergast,
WPSD NewsChannel 6

The Murray State University Board of Regents met in special session Thursday to select a new President. They voted Dr. Randy Dunn as the eleventh President. Dr. Dunn is currently the State Superintendent for the Illinois Sate Board of Education. He has also chaired the Department of Educational Administration at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale since 2000.

After a heated discussion between board members the vote ended up in Dunns favor seven to four. Dunn will start his presidency Murray State University in January. He says until then he will use vacation days to visit the campus for major events like homecoming. A press conference is schedule Friday at 11 am. Randy Dunn will be answering questions at that time and telling students what his plans for the university are.