Two at top of list
Two finalists rose to the top Tuesday from a pool of nine nominees for interim chancellor of the North Dakota University System. Eddie Dunn, the system's vice chancellor for strategic planning, and Lee Vickers, president of Dickinson State Univer...
Two finalists rose to the top Tuesday from a pool of nine nominees for interim chancellor of the North Dakota University System.
Eddie Dunn, the system's vice chancellor for strategic planning, and Lee Vickers, president of Dickinson State University, were the clear favorites of a search committee.
Out of the nine nominees, two committee members selected Vickers as their top pick, one chose Dunn and two said Dunn and Vickers were equally qualified for the position.
Committee member Charles Murphy was absent from the conference call meeting.
Both names will be forwarded to the state Board of Higher Education, which will meet Thursday to interview the candidates.
Chancellor Robert Potts resigns July 31 under an agreement approved last week, although the board may ask him to continue as chancellor longer if an interim can't start Aug. 1.
Potts resigned because of philosophical differences with a majority of board members over how the system should operate.
Dunn, 65, joined the university system in 1993 as executive director for the College Technical Education Council. In 1999, he also assumed the role of vice chancellor for strategic planning.
Previously, Dunn was vice president for programs and economic development for the Greater North Dakota Association.
He has been involved with the Roundtable on Higher Education since its formation, the Centers of Excellence program and a statewide Task Force on Workforce Training.
"Having been involved in a number of major initiatives, I understand what it takes to launch and sustain high-impact initiatives," Dunn said.
Vickers, 68, became president of Dickinson State in 1999. Before coming to Dickinson, Vickers had 20 years of experience as a college president, previously working in South Carolina and Idaho.
He serves on the P-16 Education Task Force and has also served as chairman of the ConnectND Executive Steering Committee, state board liaison to the system's Diversity Committee and chairman of the North Dakota Higher Education Committee on Centers of Excellence.
In his application letter, Vickers said his broad leadership experience and his contributions to the university system substantiate his qualifications for the interim job. He also noted that he has 28 years of experience working successfully with legislators and the media.
John Q. Paulsen, search committee chairman, said that if Vickers is selected, he would like to continue serving as president at least for a short time.
Members of the search committee spoke highly of both candidates, noting their experience with legislators and involvement with major higher education initiatives.
"I think the world of both of these people," said committee member Ellen Chaffee, president of Valley City State University.
"It's almost like choosing which of your children you like better," said committee member Michel Hillman, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs.
The interim chancellor will lead the system for 17 to 24 months, including through the legislative session.
Potts will work as a consultant for the university system through next June.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590