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NIU presidential candidates to interview this week

Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Chronicle photo CURTIS CLEGG)
Dr. Peters at Convo during Coach Patton announcement 3/19/07

DeKALB – Ten candidates will be interviewed this week in closed-door meetings as the search for Northern Illinois University’s next president continues.

A 28-member committee will meet with candidates Thursday and Friday at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont for roughly an hour and a half each, asking between 16 to 18 questions of each person. They were selected from a pool of about 48 candidates.

“This week represents an important step as we meet each of these excellent candidates in person,” said NIU trustee Robert Boey, who also sits on the search committee.

Alan Rosenbaum, co-chairman of the committee and a psychology professor, said the committee expects to narrow the field to four candidates Friday and submit the list to NIU’s Board of Trustees.

The board will then review and interview the finalists before making a final decision. The goal is to have a new president ready to begin July 1 as NIU President John Peters announced Oct. 12 that he will retire June 30.

Rosenbaum said the process, which started in November, has gone smoothly with the help of search firm Parker Executive Search. Thursday and Friday could present some challenges in weighing the opinions of a committee that large, he said.

“I think it’s always a challenge with a group this size,” Rosenbaum said. “But I think everyone feels they have had a chance to be heard and an opportunity to participate. People feel it’s been inclusive.”

One way each committee member was able to participate was through a confidential online program setup by Parker Executive Search. Members were able to nominate candidates and view a candidate status log that showed people the search firm had contacted and their responses to the opportunity.

The search firm then sent the committee a more narrowed recommendation list Feb. 22 with candidate names, letters of interest, a resumé and lists of references. Rosenbaum said he was happy with the diverse group of candidates which included people of different race, gender, ethnicity, geography and experience.

“It’s a great list and the committee seems to be working well together,” he said. “I have no doubt we’ll find an excellent person to succeed President Peters.”

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