University of Missouri System
1:13 pm
Mon March 7, 2011

UMSL hosts public forum on new U. of Missouri system president

Today, dozens of University of Missouri-St. Louis faculty and staff attended the second of seven public forums being held around the state by the Presidential Search committee for the next University of Missouri System President.

Betty Van Uum is assistant to the provost for public affairs at UMSL. She says the next University of Missouri System President should possess both good business and political acumen.

"Because at the end of the day, we are a political institution," Van Uum said. "So, somebody has to be understanding of how the political process works and has demonstrated that in order to lead us in obviously changing political times. So, I think political acumen would be respected on both sides of the isles."

Deborah Burris is Chief Diversity Officer at UMSL. She encouraged the panel to consider each candidate's track record on advancing diversity.

"Oftentimes when we have candidates come in, they, of course, talk about diversity and believe in diversity," Burris said. "But I encourage you to look a little deeper in terms of being very specific. What have they done at their current organizations to advance diversity?"

The next public forum will be held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City tomorrow. A new president could be selected in six to nine months.