FSU’s Presidential Search: Faculty Union anger goes national

FSU’s faculty union yesterday succeeded in broadcasting its anger at the conduct of the university’s presidential search to a national audience with the narrow passage of a Faculty Senate resolution of “no confidence” in the nationally-known consultant leading the search.

This item is at the top of the web site of Inside Higher Ed this morning:

Florida State University’s Faculty Senate is slamming one of higher ed’s top headhunters after the search tilted quickly to favor a well-connected politician.

On Wednesday, the university’s Faculty Senate voted no confidence in R. William Funk, who is leading Florida State’s controversial search for a new president. Funk is head of Texas-based R. William Funk and Associates, which has placed presidents at some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious universities.

The vote of displeasure may be the first of its kind by faculty in a search firm. If faculty elsewhere adopt the tactic, the spread of no confidence votes could further complicate presidential searches.

Funk said he was “taken back” by the vote, which was said to be a close one.

The piece is worth a read, particularly because it describes previous searches in which Funk led searches that resulted in the hiring of prominent politicians at other institutions, including former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels at Purdue and T.K. Wetherell at FSU.

If there was any good news in the article, it was this from FSU Trustee and Search Advisory Committee Chair Edward Burr:

Burr said he heard that three faculty senators who also serve on the presidential search committee spoke against the resolution.

The three faculty members who are on the Search Advisory Committee and also in the Senate were careful to oppose the no confidence motion.  They should be applauded for their prudence and wisdom.

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