Friday, June 08, 2007

UI Held Hostage Day 503 - "Pretty please"

June 8, 2007, 6:50 , 8:40, and 11:10 a.m.; 3:45, 6:30 and 8:00 p.m.

EXTRA! Search Committee II promises to reveal the names of two of the five stealth candidates within minutes. And now . . . here they are:

Philip Furmanski, executive vice president for academic affairs at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, will be on the University of Iowa campus Monday and Tuesday, June 11 and 12, to interview for the position of UI president.

. . .

Mark P. Becker, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of South Carolina, will be on the University of Iowa campus Tuesday and Wednesday, June 12 and 13, to interview for the position of UI president.
Gregg Hennigan, "Rutgers VP, S.C. provost to interview at UI," Gazette Online, June 8, 2007. And see, "UI Announces First Two Finalists," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 8, 2007; Erin Jordan, "Rutgers, So. Carolina educators named U of I finalists," Des Moines Register, June 8, 2007; Ashton Shurson, "UI Releases Two Presidential Candidates," The Daily Iowan, June 8, 2007, 4:15 p.m.

# # #

Here's more on those two, starting with . . .

Philip Furmanski

What follows is a first very rough cut on a Google search on "Philip Furmanski" -- a selection of five items from the first 10 of 1130 hits. Only 1120 to go! Anyone else doing this Internet search who has any items to bring to our attention -- given that we've yet to hear from Search Committee II that they are going to provide us the relevant links? If so, put them in a "comment" to this entry.

* His 39-page Curriculum Vitae

* An interview from 2004 provides a little insight as to his political savvy, approach to economic development, understanding of management and the budgeting process, sense of public relations, and interest in undergraduate education: "Learning and Life: Philip Furmanski discusses a new initiative to focus on undergraduate education," Rutgers Focus, February 23, 2004.

* Animal rights activists will certainly want to read how he handled those issues at NYU -- positions and strategies that also have some relevance to management, ethics and accommodation of diversity generally. Martin Rowe, "What's Up with NYU?" Satya Magazine, April 1, 1998.

* His marriage to poet Susan Wheeler rated a story in the Times: "Susan Wheeler is Wed to Dr. Philip Furmanski," The New York Times, August 24, 1991. The story notes he was 45, she 36, at the time (which would make them 61 and 52 this year), and that this was the second marriage for both.

* If you want to see one of his memos indicating how he was handling what he called "one of the worst budget crises the University has faced in decades," here it is from May 18, 2006.
Mark P. Becker

A Google search on ["Mark P. Becker" (USC OR "South Carolina")] produces 184 hits; using just "Mark P. Becker" produces 465. I ended up going through the first 100 of the 465 -- perhaps faster than I should have -- but kept going because I didn't immediately see much of anything beyond the conventional: (e.g., papers, conferences, and other items included in cvs) that would have put any human meat on the bones. The guy is (so far) clean.

Here is his four-brief-paragraph bio on the University of South Carolina Web site.

And here is his 14-page curriculum vitae.

# # #

Probably the biggest news in the UI presidential search today -- that is, both this morning, and to come later today -- is the tug of war between Search Committee II and the Regents over the identities of the five under cover, stealth candidates. The Regents are saying, "Pretty please." Search Committee II members are saying nothing.

Sobered by the tough sentence handed out to Scooter Libby for revealing the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the Committee has, so far, refused to engage in leaks of the names to the Regents.

However, they are weakening, and the NSA has picked up a lot of back channel chatter that indicates a breach in the formerly impenetrable classification system may be coming following the Committee's meeting this afternoon.

The "logistics" challenge, as Committee Chair Johnsen puts it, is how to make it possible for the Regents to hold public interviews next Tuesday and Wednesday with candidates who have been promised that their identities will not be made public, and that they need not arrive on campus, until Thursday or Friday. This will be especially difficult, of course, for those who must be simultaneously meeting with the public from 3:45 to 4:45 while also being interviewed by the Regents at another location.

So, watch this space for the Houdini solution Search Committee II will offer following its meeting late this afternoon.

Meanwhile, later this morning there will be mention of other UI stories as well:

* The speculation as to who isn't on the list has now grown legs and become almost as big a story as who is.

* There are predictions we'll have to pay $500,000 to whomever is chosen. I dispute that. Although we've just contracted with the basketball coach -- still shy in his search for the answer to why "Iowa boys can't jump" -- with a detailed document designed to provide him $1.2 million a year. (It's all a matter of priorities; ours is clearly sports.)

* The Athletic Department has agreed to cancel its $61,000 contract with the "Iowa Lottery" -- but not its more lucrative partnership with the gambling casino industry (with a logic you will find highly entertaining). Now that the program is capable of operating on its own financially, with a $60 million-something budget, perhaps it's time to give more serious attention to putting even more distance between it and the University.

* I find myself in agreement with Regents COO Gary Steinke over Googling, respond to an anonymous comment from "Creighton Duke" attacking our position, as the UI agrees to let Google scan all its books, but not the information regarding its presidential candidates.

* Caught up in the excitement of searches, Iowa City decides to continue the fun beyond this next week or so (when, presumably, "UI Held Hostage" will pass into history and the UI presidential search will expire) by engaging in a search for a new city manager.
All that, and more, as the day unfolds.

# # #

Here are links to some of the stories referred to above:

Brian Morelli, "Regents Wait for List of Names," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 8, 2007.

The Regents may not know whom they're going to be interviewing, but at least they know when and where they'll be doing it.

The Iowa Board of Regents is slated to interview University of Iowa presidential candidates Tuesday and Wednesday in 90-minute sessions that are open to the public. All the interviews will be in the R. Wayne Richey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City.

The schedule:


9-10:30 a.m.: Candidate No. 1

11 a.m. -12:30 p.m.: Candidate No. 2


9:30-11 a.m.: Candidate No. 3

2-3:30 p.m.: Candidate No. 4

6-7:30 p.m.: Candidate No. 5
"Regents to Interview U of I Presidential Candidates," Des Moines Register, June 8, 2007.

Meanwhile, here's more on the big story of who's not a candidate. Gregg Hennigan, "UI President Search; 3 former finalists out of running," The Gazette, June 8, 2007, p. B1; earlier as, Gregg Hennigan, "3 Former Finalists Not in Running at UI," The Gazette Online, June 7, 2007, 10:59 p.m.

. . . and what somebody thinks we ought to pay the ultimate selection. Brian Morelli, "Expert: UI can expect to pay leader $500K; Schools also offer deferred compensation, bonuses," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 8, 2007.

. . . compared with how we treat our coaches. "Coach Lickliter's Contract," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 4, 2007 [text of contract document]; Pat Harty, "UI, Lickliter add termination clause; Contract would pay out if coach leaves early, UI fires him," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 5, 2007; Pat Harty, "Search to Hire Lickliter Cost $120,000," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 4, 2007.

But in the "Iowa boys can't jump" department, just how Iowa is the "Iowa Hawkeyes" basketball team going to be next year? Pat Harty, "Lickliter Locks in 2nd '08 Recruit," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 4, 2007.

"Lotteries, No; Gambling casino industry? Why, of course." Ryan Suchomel, "Iowa athletics, lottery scratch off partnership; Both sides agree not to renew controversial deal," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 8, 2007; Scott Dochterman, "UI ad deal ends; Iowa Lottery contract will not be renewed; future deals possible," The Gazette, June 8, 2007 [go to the Gazette site, use drop down menus to locate the paper for 6/8/07 and then find page A1]; Clara Hogan, "Hawkeyes Ax Lottery Connection," The Daily Iowan, June 8, 2007.

With or without the gambling revenues, the Athletic Department is doing quite well, thank you. Scott Dochterman, "Iowa Boosting Athletics Budget," The Gazette Online, June 7, 2007, 4:30 a.m.

And when one search ends, another begins. Hieu Pham, "Iowa City manager retiring; Atkins proud of contributing to city's livability," Iowa City Press-Citizen, June 8, 2007; Gregg Hennigan, "Iowa City manager to retire; After 20 years on job, ‘it’s time’ to leave, says Steve Atkins, 61," The Gazette, June 8, 2007, p. A1 [go to the Gazette site, use drop down menus to locate the paper for 6/8/07 and then find page A1].

# # #

In our lead story for the day, Brian Morelli reports,
The regent director wants the list of names of the five finalists in the University of Iowa presidential search, but the search committee won't give it to him.

Iowa state Board of Regents Executive Director Gary Steinke has been seeking the candidate names for at least the past few days. He contacted committee chairman and College of Dentistry Dean David Johnsen and committee member and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Linda Maxson, but neither complied.

"It is kind of hard to think very much further when you don't know who the candidates are," Steinke said of how the final stages of the search will proceed.

. . .

Regent President Pro Tem David Miles said . . . he is ready to see the names, and Heidrick and Struggles, the Atlanta-based search firm assisting with the search, will get the regents the candidates' names and backgrounds sometime today (emphasis supplied).

"I am starting to get, not concerned, but I am ready to have them," Miles said. "All of the regents have our non-regents life to manage as well, so it will be good if we have the weekend to look them over."

The search chairman has said all along that candidate confidentiality is a foremost concern. With more people in the loop, names could start floating out early.

Johnsen said he has been working with the candidates, the committee and the regents to coordinate the transfer of information in an agreeable way.

"There've been a lot of conversations going back and forth," Johnsen said.

. . .

Steinke said the regents need the names to prepare for the interviews.

"I am trying to get the names from the search committee so the regents have time to look at (Curriculum Vitaes), to look at resumes, Google these people so they have time to prepare questions for next Tuesday," he said (emphasis supplied).

. . .

Several regents say they don't see the urgency in getting names.

"I am very comfortable that the committee will give us the names in a timely fashion. There must be some reason they are not prepared to hand those names over," Regent Bonnie Campbell said.

She said it likely wouldn't take her long to prepare for the interviews, and she'd likely only review information the search committee collected. . . . "In the real world I'd probably look at (the background) the day before. I wouldn't do any independent research."

Regent Robert Downer said he would be comfortable receiving the names and information Monday.

. . .
(And Mark Kresowik, who is known to many of you [Google Group "Mark's Community"], adds to his group email yesterday that itemizes some of the news items he doesn't find especially cheery, "And Provost Mike Hogan is out of the running for the UI Presidency. This is really too bad. Mike is an incredible leader, a brilliant academician, and a great guy. I'm sure the candidates that they're interviewing soon ( are qualified, but it is hard to imagine a better presidential candidate than Mike Hogan.")

And now back to Googling, the subject of yesterday's blog entry, Nicholas Johnson, "UI Presidential Search: The Utility of Campus Visits -- and the Internet," in "UI Held Hostage Day 502 - Show Me the Web Sites," June 7, 2007. Morelli quotes Steinke as indicating he and I are in agreement that it's something Regents will want to do -- and I indicated should do. (Regent Campbell is quoted as saying she wouldn't bother in any event.)

As I've indicated before, normally I run an open "comments" blog, letting those who comment respond to the comments of others, rather than doing it myself. (After all, I have the entire blog. There's no justification for my stuffing the "comments" section full of my views as well.)

But yesterday's blog entry produced a comment that calls for a response:
Creighton Duke said...

Why are you entitled to the links they have? Based on what? Your personal need to know?

I dont recall that the ICCSD runs the approval of every school administrator by the parents or students.

The comment and its questions suggest I didn't make my position clear. There are a number of issues here:

1. Am I legally "entitled" to the links? I wasn't arguing that one way or another, but since the question is raised I'll respond that information regarding Search Committee II's process has been viewed, by the Committee as well as the Iowa open meetings law, as something that cannot be discussed in closed meetings. Thus, at a minimum, the Committee's investigative process, whether it included thorough Google searches, and how it was done, would appear to be information to which any Iowa media representative or citizen is "entitled."

While it is a different, and more difficult, question, I would argue (as I did in a way yesterday) that the public information that can be found by anyone on the Internet should not be considered legally "confidential" for any purpose. Would it be a breach of confidentiality, or cause harm to a candidate, for a member of Search Committee II to say, "She is the author of X book, and one member of the Committee read it," or "We also talked to those with whom he worked in his immediate office at his prior position at Y university"? Not what the Committee thought of the book, not what was said by the former colleagues who were interviewed; only that a part of the Committee's process was to read the candidates' publications and interview those with whom they'd been associated.

Even less is it an intrusion on a candidate's privacy or confidentiality, it seems to me, to reveal -- from among all the Web sites that a simple Google search presents -- the links (not the relevant portions of their content) the Committee found most relevant.

So much for legally "entitled."

2. But I wasn't arguing yesterday, nor am I today, that members of the public are "entitled" to those links as a matter of law. They are "entitled," to the extent that they are, because Search Committee II has arranged for campus interviews, and has scheduled hour-long sessions for each candidate (a) to which the public is invited, and (b) following which the public has been expressly asked to provide feedback to the Committee (along with a designated procedure for their doing so). Just as Gary Steinke has argued with regard to the ability of the Regents to do their job (which he expressly believes includes the opportunity to Google), so do I believe the media and public require the same opportunity. My point is simply that, given the very short fuse the Committee and Regents have handed us, if all that Googling is to be possible for any given individual (including members of the Board of Regents) they are going to have to have access to the Web sites thought most relevant by the Committee members, rather than being required to duplicate the effort of going through literally thousands of sites in order to find those that are relevant.

3. As for "I dont recall that the ICCSD runs the approval of every school administrator by the parents or students": (a) we're not talking about "every school administrator" either within the local school district or at the University of Iowa, we're talking about the University president (the equivalent, within a school district perhaps, of the superintendent), (b) my memory (which I'm the first to admit has become less reliable with age) is that we did "run the approval of [the superintendent] by the parents [and students]." Every school board meeting is open to the public, there are numerous citizen advisory committees, a constant flow of communication among all school stakeholders, and specifically, if I recall correctly, there were public sessions and input before the superintendent was selected, and (c) there's an 80-year-old tradition of "shared governance" between (at least) governing bodies and universities' faculties at all American universities, and no reason why there would have to be consistency between their practices and those of K-12 school districts.

# # #


Anonymous said...

I very much appreciate your blog and your good sense on much of the presidential search. I must admit I am mystified, however, at your call for the search committee to reveal names of books and publications they looked at, links to websites they looked at, etc. I cannot think of one search for anything, including a major administrator at a public institution, here or elsewhere, for which that level of minutiae about a search process has been shared. I don't totally buy the "we don't have enough time argument," either. Yes, it's all a very compressed time frame. But names of candidates for almost all administrative positions at the UI, not just president, have been announced the day before arrival in the past, and no one said boo about it. Again, I'm with you on 99% of what you're saying, and certainly there have been missteps on Search II. But some of the suggestions/requests you're making seem kind of out of touch with reality, or asking for things that are far beyond anything I can recall anyone doing under other circumstances, even screwed up circumstances.

Anonymous said...

First Anonymous,

The problem here is that there really isn't enough time. The regents plan to make a decision over the weekend. The last interview is on late Friday and the search committee is demanding summary reports from the interview group by 9PM. The groups are diverse. This in itself is impossible.

Then, the community is weighing in on Web sites -- hopefully we are active in this and there will be hundreds of evaluations.

So, explain to me how the search committee can wade through all of this systematically and carefully in less than 48 hours, deliver a report to the regents, which the regents can carefully consider?

All of this "hurry up" makes it virtually impossible for the search committee or the regents to truly and carefully consider the community's views.

Moreover, there is NO REASON for hurrying up (unless someone is eager to go on vacation, which is not a good reason). An extra week will not affect exposure at this point.

Isn't it quite obvious that the decision has already been made and this is little more than a ritual?