Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes
Monday/Tuesday, December 4-5, 2000

World Trade Center
St. Paul, Minnesota

Trustees Present: Will Antell, Andrew Boss, Nancy Brataas, Brent A. Calhoun, Mary Choate, Dennis Dotson, Ivan Dusek, Robert Erickson, Bob Hoffman, Jim A. Luoma, Lew Moran, Joann Splonskowski, Joseph Swanson, Michael Vekich, Chair

Trustees Absent: Daniel G. Coborn



Day One: Monday, December 4, 2000



  1. Call to Order
    Chair Vekich called the meeting to order at 8:10 a.m. and reported that a quorum was present. The purpose of the meeting over the next two days is to interview the three finalists for chancellor and hopefully, make a selection.
  2. Report from the Chair of the Search Advisory Committee
    Chair Vekich introduced Vance Opperman, chair, Search Advisory Committee for Chancellor. Mr. Opperman thanked the Board for the opportunity and the honor to serve as chair of the committee. The sixteen-member committee included Trustees Choate and Luoma. Chair Vekich was invited to attend the meetings as an ex officio member. The other committee members were two students, three faculty representatives, two presidents, two trustees, MnSCU staff, one other MnSCU labor representative, one person nominated by state senate majority leader, one person nominated by speaker of the House, one person nominated by the Governor, and one community representative. The diverse group met seven times beginning in June and concluding in November.

    In June, the committee met for the first time for orientation and the Board's charge to the committee. Representatives from the search consulting firm, A. T. Kearney, Inc., were in attendance. In August, the committee began screening the resumes that were in a secure location at MnSCU. In September, the committee met to select candidates for interviews. In October, the committee met for two-day interviews. A.T. Kearney provided a detailed list of questions. For the face-to-face part of the interview process, A.T. Kearney recommended that the same person be assigned the same question for each candidate in order to provide for continuity in each interview. The finalists were selected in November.

    The committee met for a total of 42 actual hours in meetings. This does not include the time each committee member spent in a secure location reviewing all of the applications.

    Mr. Opperman explained that the candidate pool consisted of 38 applicants representing people of the highest credentials. Ten candidates were selected for interviews: two were from Minnesota, eight were from out-of-state, seven men and three women, two were nominated from the community at large, six came from market segmentation meaning they were recruited by the search consultant, and two were from the nomination/market segmentation area. He commented that the committee was very impressed with the high quality of the candidate pool, and that any one of the following three finalist candidates would be a fine chancellor for MnSCU: Dr. Own F. Cargol, Dr. William Sederburg, and Dr. James H. McCormick.

    In summary, Mr. Opperman explained that the committee felt it was absolutely essential to keep the process as confidential and as closed as possible in order to protect the identity of the applicants. Along with other members of the Search Committee, Mr. Opperman reported that he was distressed when the names of the three finalists were prematurely published by a Twin Cities newspaper.

    Following a question and answer period, Executive Director Reynen reviewed the interview schedule for the day. Three groups of Trustees will interview the candidates. Chair Vekich will facilitate one group in International Hall that includes Trustees Antell, Brataas, Luoma, and Swanson. Vice Chair Boss will facilitate another group in Room 502 with Trustees Choate, Dotson, Dusek, and Calhoun. Trustee Splonskowski will facilitate a group in Conference Room B with Trustees Erickson, Hoffman, and Moran. From noon until 2:00 p.m., Mr. Opperman will moderate interviews with the candidates that will be broadcast live to the campuses by MnSAT.

    Mr. Opperman reviewed the interview guidelines. The interviews will be conducted in accordance with the Open Meeting Law. Certain areas of questioning or conversation are to be avoided (marital/family status, religion, ethnic or racial background, age or age-related questions, disability or medical issues or other protected class issues) because they may be perceived as discriminatory and are not related to legitimate considerations about the candidates. Certain data on finalists are public, including veteran status, job history, education and training and work availability. All other data is classified as private, although it may be discussed in the open meeting context.

    Chair Vekich announced that background information on the candidates that is covered under the data privacy act is available for review by the Trustees. The information is located in a secure room on the fifth floor.

    Chair Vekich commented that the full Board would reconvene on Tuesday, December 5 at 8:00 am to interview the candidates. Chair Vekich thanked Mr. Opperman and the Search Advisory Committee for their fulfillment of the charge given to them by the Board.

    Trustee Robert Erickson resolved that the Board of Trustees thank Mr. Opperman and the Search Advisory Committee for their outstanding work. The resolution was seconded by Trustee Boss and passed without dissent.

    Chair Vekich recessed the meeting at 9:15 a.m.

    Day Two: Tuesday, December 5, 2000

  3. Call to Order
    Chair Vekich reconvened the meeting at 8:10 a.m. on Tuesday, December 5, and reported that a quorum was present. He reviewed the schedule and process for the interviews. Each candidate will be interviewed by the full Board for one hour. The interview format will include an opening statement, question and answer period, and conclude with a closing statement. The Board will recess at noon and reconvene at 2:00 p.m., when the public will be invited to comment on the candidates. Following that, the Board will enter in deliberations to select MnSCU's new chancellor.

    Chair Vekich reported that the MnSAT broadcasts were very successful and that many viewers completed the "candidate feedback forms" which were provided to the Trustees.

    a. Owen F. Cargol Interview

    Dr. Cargol has been the president of the University of Maine at Augusta since 1996. Dr. Cargol earned a B.Sc. from Louisiana State University and Oregon State University, a M.Ed. in adult and higher education administration from Oregon State University and a D.Ed. in higher education administration from Pennsylvania State University.

    In his opening statement, Dr. Cargol commented that he is pleased to be a finalist. He continued that MnSCU is a great jewel in the crown of American higher education, and that this is a wonderful opportunity to build upon the progress to date and to bring Minnesota to the forefront of higher education in the United States.

    A question and answer period ensued. Copies of the audiotape are available upon request.

    In closing, Dr. Cargol commented that he has been pleased to be here the past few days and appreciated the courtesies extended to him. He continued that MnSCU is a great system of higher education that is on the verge of becoming an even better system of higher education and he would like to be part of the movement.

    b. James H. McCormick Interview
    Dr. McCormick has been the chancellor of the State System of Higher Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 1993. He earned a B.S. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a M.Ed. from the University of Pittsburgh, and a D.Ed in educational administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

    In his opening statement, Dr. McCormick commented that his experience in the secondary schools, ranging from teaching and administration, and then as a president, prepared him to serve for the past seventeen years as the chancellor of the State System of Higher Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He continued that MnSCU is a young system, and that he could bring some coaching, vision and leadership to the whole organization. Dr. McCormick remarked that if he were hired, he would work to create greater visibility for MnSCU by bringing about an alignment with campus leadership, staff, and the Board of Trustees so that there would be a commitment to go forward in an environment of participatory involvement. He would work carefully with legislators to develop in them a strong advocacy of MnSCU. In turn, he would lead the advocacy for all of the campuses, and the citizens of Minnesota for high quality, accessible and affordable education. Dr. McCormick noted that collaboration and cooperation with the University of Minnesota and the businesses throughout Minnesota are essential. He also commented that he would take the leadership in teacher education and collaborate with the public schools, K-16, to better prepare students, teachers.

    A question and answer period ensued. Copies of the audiotape are available upon request.

    In conclusion, Dr. McCormick remarked that it has been a great honor and privilege to be asked to consider this position, and for the Search Committee to recommend him as a finalist. If he is selected, he promised to give it every bit of energy, commitment, talent, management ability, and a seasoned maturity to the position.

    c. Dr. William Sederburg
    Dr. Sederburg has been the president of Ferris State University since 1994. Dr. Sederburg earned a B.A. from Minnesota State University, Mankato, an M.A. in political science from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in public administration from Michigan State University.

    In his opening statement, Dr. Sederburg commented that he is delighted to be here and that he has enjoyed the entire search process, and the past day and a half have been interesting and very stimulating. Dr. Sederburg noted that he has a proven record of educational leadership whether on the state board of education, national honor society, legislature, and as a university president. He currently chairs a statewide arts council, and a group dedicated to the expansion of technology in Michigan. Ferris State University combines the three elements of MnSCU - it has the sixth largest college of technology in country, has over 2,000 students in technical programs (automotive, heating/ventilating/air conditioning, etc.), and it is a community college, and a state university. Dr. Sederburg remarked that he considers himself to be a visionary and an innovator, and that he was intrigued by the MnSCU chancellor position because of the Board's use of the word innovation, and the Board's approach to networking the schools in Minnesota in providing a twenty-first century education system. If he were hired as Chancellor, his agenda would include advocacy, networking of the campuses, workforce development, information technology, education reform to improve the quality of instruction on our campuses, and for MnSCU to be a well-run institution with a clear vision, values and an operational plan.

    A question and answer period ensued. Copies of the audiotape are available upon request.

    In conclusion, Dr. Sederburg commented that it has been an honor to be here. MnSCU has a wonderful opportunity to become the twenty-first century education system. Consensus, teamwork, and good communication are essential.
  4. Announcements
    President Horak, Normandale Community College, invited the Trustees to join the Council of Presidents for lunch from noon to 1:00 p.m.

    Chair Vekich commented that the Search Committee has done an outstanding job, and that the Board was very pleased with the three finalist candidates. He referred to and read from the Chancellor Search Document that was created by the Board and included the desired qualifications of a new chancellor: visionary, leader, good communicator, collaborative, an advocate for the system, and a steward.
    "The Chancellor will lead the effort to strengthen statewide, high-quality, accessible, future-oriented higher education, relevant research, and community service initiatives for the citizens of Minnesota. The Chancellor will articulate the core values and strengths of the MnSCU system to the citizens of Minnesota, Governor, legislature, business, and professional community, and media. The Chancellor will raise awareness of the unique, and diverse MnSCU colleges and universities and the unified system. Under the Chancellor's leadership, MnSCU will excel as the most accessible, highest quality, innovative and transformative higher education provider in the region."

    At 11:55 a.m., Chair Vekich recessed the meeting and asked the Trustees to consider these words prior to deliberations, which are scheduled at 2:00 p.m.
  5. Reconvene and Public Testimony
    Chair Vekich reconvened the meeting at 2:05 p.m., and announced that a quorum was present. The first order of business is to hear public comments on the chancellor candidates.

    Carol Lowe, representative of Minnesota State University Association of Administrative and Service commended the Search Committee for a fine job. She urged the Board of Trustees to select Dr. James McCormick as the one candidate who is distinctly qualified to be chancellor.

    Frank Viggiano, executive director, Minnesota State University Student Association read from the resolution that was passed unanimously by the MSUSA Presidential Board of Directors. The MSUSA Presidential Board of Directors believes the following criteria are important and should be considered by the MnSCU Board of Trustees in choosing a chancellor:

    1. Strong support and commitment to public post secondary education over a significant period of time.
    2. Management experience and success in public higher education including legislative experience.
    3. A reputation of working in partnership with all types of constituency groups represented within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, particularly students, faculty and staff associations.
    4. A general knowledge of financial aid programs and student-centered policies, and an expressed commitment to access and affordable higher education for all universities and colleges within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities' system.
    Mr. Viggiano commented that the students were very pleased with the use of technology in broadcasting the candidate interviews.

    Mike Redlinger, state chair, Minnesota State University Student Association, and a member of the Search Advisory Committee commented that the Search Committee supported all three candidates equally. MSUSA students are looking for a candidate that is going to be proactive, creative, think outside of the box about different ways to promote MnSCU, and that can work well with collective bargaining. He publicly thanked Vance Opperman, chair of the Search Advisory Committee, Mike Vekich, chair of the Board of Trustees and Penny Harris Reynen, executive director/board secretary, and Inge Chapin, Board office staff for their hard work.
  6. Deliberative Process

    Before beginning deliberations, Chair Vekich repeated one of the sentences from the chancellor search document: Under the Chancellor's leadership, MnSCU will excel as the most accessible, highest quality, innovative and transformative higher education provider in the region.

    One by one, the Trustees commented on the candidates. Initially, all of the Trustees, except one, supported Dr. James McCormick. During the deliberations, it was announced that Dr. William Sederburg had respectfully withdrawn his candidacy.

    Trustee Luoma moved a unanimous ballot to offer the position to Dr. James McCormick. Trustee Antell second, and the motion passed unanimously.

    Chair Vekich called for a recess at 2:37 p.m., while Executive Director Reynen contacted Dr. McCormick.

    Chair Vekich reconvened the assembly at 3:05 p.m., and introduced Dr. McCormick. Dr. McCormick was received with a standing ovation. Chair Vekich introduced Dr. Maryan McCormick.

    Dr. McCormick announced that he was very honored to be selected as MnSCU's new chancellor. Dr. McCormick said that he and his wife feel very privileged to work in the field of education and higher education in particular. The MnSCU chancellor position offers another opportunity, and they will do their very best to work with outstanding individuals, the board, leadership on the campuses, and office staff to serve the people of Minnesota, the campuses, and the 140,000 students. He will work closely with Chancellor Anderson and Chair Vekich to make it a smooth transition. He thanked the Board for their vote of confidence and commended them on a first class search process. He thanked the Search Committee and expressed that it was very wise to have such broad representation on the committee. He commended the Board on the public process in which the interviews were conducted. He thanked the Board for their support and said he looks forward to the privilege to serve. Dr. McCormick accepted the Chancellor position with honor.

    Chair Vekich announced that the Board was unanimous in its selection of Dr. McCormick. Before adjourning, Chair Vekich thanked Board staff Penny Harris Reynen and Inge Chapin for the outstanding job they did on the search process. He also introduced and thanked Dr. Jan Greenwood, A. T. Kearney.
  7. Adjournment
    Chair Vekich adjourned the meeting by consensus at 3:15 p.m.

Recorded by Penny Harris Reynen