The board that oversees the three state universities hopes to have a new president hired for Iowa State University by this fall. The Board of Regents discussed the issue today at their meeting in Iowa City, and decided they want to have the finalists hold public interviews on campus.

Regent Ruth Harkin, of Cumming, asked if the board would waive the public forum for a top candidate. Harkin asked what would happen if there was a candidate that the search committed thought was “so spectacular” that the committee wanted hire them without a public interview. Harkin says there have been recent searches where a candidates has said they won’t participate because of the public forum.

Regents president, David Miles, of Urbandale, says Harkin made a valid point, but said he preferred the public forums. Miles says not having public input runs “somewhat counter to the tradition in Iowa” and says it might also be counter to the statute of Iowa. He says he is confident in the attractiveness of the job that it will draw good candidates even though they may put themselves at some risk by publicly revealing their interest.

Miles said he simply wanted the board to decide now that it would hold the public input sessions and not change it later. Regent Craig Lang of West Des Moines said the public sessions are needed. “The citizens of the campus are an extremely important part of this decision, and I just believe that it’s imperative that that interview and comment takes place on campus with the prospects for president,” Lang says.

Regent Robert Downer of Iowa City said Harkin made a good point about possibly losing candidates, but said they could lose credibility without the forums. Downer says he has heard of circumstances were candidates were brought on without such a process and they “started off with a reservoir of dissatisfaction because the campus community had not input on the selection.” The regents agreed to the need for the public forums.

President Miles says the search process will be an expensive one. Miles says the search will “certainly be in excess of $100,000” and it could readily be in excess of $150,000. The regents named the dean of the I.S.U. College of Business and I.S.U. alum Roger Underwood as co-chairs of the search committee.

The committee will look for the replacement for Gregory Geoffroy who announced in March that he would leave the post.