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N.D. may hire consultant in search for chancellor

BISMARCK -- North Dakota could spend up to $50,000 to hire a consultant to help find a new university system chancellor. The state Board of Higher Education, meeting by telephone conference call Friday morning, accepted Chancellor Larry Isaak's r...

BISMARCK -- North Dakota could spend up to $50,000 to hire a consultant to help find a new university system chancellor.

The state Board of Higher Education, meeting by telephone conference call Friday morning, accepted Chancellor Larry Isaak's resignation and made plans for a search committee to hire his replacement.

Isaak resigned last week to become president of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, based in Minneapolis. He will stay on the job in North Dakota until November.

The board also agreed they'll likely hire a consultant to help with the search.

Board members were shocked when Isaak told them Montana recently paid a consultant $50,000 to help find a new chancellor.

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"Uff-da," several exclaimed.

The North Dakota board has paid about $30,000 to $40,000 for a consultant on each of its last three presidential searches, said board Vice President Bruce Christianson of Minot.

"Are we inserting a clause in the contract that they can't come back in a year and pluck our guy away?" asked member Bev Clayburgh of Grand Forks.

"We can certainly do that," Isaak said.

Board members worried about the search committee getting too big. Some search group suggestions included multiple students, faculty and college presidents, the entire seven-member board, University System office workers, plus business people and legislators.

That would be too many, said some on the board. They wanted a more manageable size.

Board President Richard Kunkel said it would not work to select one legislator.

"Somebody mentioned legislators. Others say let's keep the political side out of it," he said. "If we pick a legislator, there's going to have to be four" -- a Democrat and Republican from each of the two houses.

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In the end, the group informally decided they'll select at least three board members, one faculty member, one student, one University System office employee, one or two private-sector representatives and up to three campus presidents.

They'll vote on that at their Sept. 25-26 meeting in Grand Forks.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Janell Cole at (701) 224-0830

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