OSU Board Announces “Open Search” for Next President

According to Chair of the Oregon State University Board of Trustees, Rani Borkar, the election of the next OSU president will be through an “open search.”  

The announcement came in an “all students” email to the OSU community on Friday, May 21, coinciding with a board meeting. In the announcement, Borkar disclosed the conclusions made based on a retrospective review of former president F. King Alexander’s hiring, including an online survey sent to faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders.  

According to the announcement, the independent external review of the due diligence of the last search is still underway. But based on the internal retrospective review, Borkar said it was clear “the university community is deeply invested in the process and outcome of the next presidential search.”  

So what does it mean that the board will be conducting an open search? Well, the first steps of the process will still be conducted by the search committee behind closed doors, likely in the interest of attracting good candidates as we’ve discussed in a past article. Then, two or three finalist candidates will come to campus and speak with the community.  

Although the final hiring decision will be entirely in the hands of the search committee, Borkar said in the announcement that this process would provide an “opportunity for broad community engagement with finalists, and soliciting feedback on finalists before the Board makes its final decision.”  

In spite of this notable structural decision, the presidential search process at OSU has yet to begin. According to Trustee Paul Kelly, the search will “kick off in earnest” in late September or early October.   

By Ardea C. Eichner