Engstrom lays out UMW chancellor search plan

University of Montana President Royce Engstrom held two listening sessions last Wednesday on the campus of UMW to discuss the upcoming chancellor search. Engstrom is shown above describing the process that should have a new administrator on campus by late fall. J.P. Plutt photo


University of Montana President Royce Engstrom held two listening sessions last Wednesday on the University of Montana Western campus to explain to the public the upcoming process for selecting a new chancellor for the Dillon unit of the Montana University System. Current UMW Chancellor Dick Storey recently announced his plans to retire.

“I really want the energy of this search to be on this campus,” said Engstrom in the second of the two listening sessions. “We are looking for a dynamic leader.”

Engstrom projects the search committee will review applications over the summer to narrow the field of applicants to between six and eight semifinalists. That number will eventually be pared to two to four finalists who will be invited to the UMW campus for an interview process expected to be conducted next fall. 

The search committee will then collect feedback and meet with Engstrom who will ultimately make the final decision on Western’s next chancellor.

The tentative schedule would have interviews in September, and an appointment in October. Engstrom says the process could stretch into January or later.

“I view this as a fully open, national search,” said Engstrom. “The time-line is not absolute. If we don’t get people we want, we can extend it. We are not going to settle for a person we don’t think is going to make a great chancellor.”

Engstrom said the first step in finding a new chancellor will be the formation of a search committee. He said the group will include 15 to 18 members, though he said there is no magic number, representing all constituent groups relating to the chancellor’s position.

The search committee will likely include four or five members of the faculty, a couple of students, members of the community of Dillon, a representative from Engstrom’s office, a representative of the UMW Foundation, a representative of the UMW Alumni, and others.

“The focus of energy for the search will rest squarely on the UMW campus with a search committee make up of individuals from on and off campus, and chaired by a person from UMW,” wrote Engstrom in a letter dated Feb. 19 that was sent to campus employees prior to the listening session.

The search committee will be assembled within the next two weeks and begin work on a position description for the job and a description of the school, “An exciting document that really sells the university,” said Engstrom.


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