The optimistic goal at LSU at the moment is to have a new system president in place by January.
While the search to replace John Lombardi, whom the LSU Board of Supervisors dismissed in April hasn’t started in earnest, the board has taken two preliminary steps — naming a six-person search team and hiring a consulting firm to find a new leader.
Whomever they choose will be in charge of LSU’s $3.5 billion network of four university campuses, a law school, two medical schools, 10 hospitals and dozens of outpatient medical clinics across Louisiana.
LSU Board member Blake Chatelain, of Alexandria, is the chairman of the board’s Presidential Search Committee.
On Tuesday, Chatelain said he expects the search committee to meet later this month to select a search firm, and ideally, to have a president picked by January.
In the meantime, LSU has contracted with AGB Search consulting firm, of Washington, D.C., to help shape the parameters of the search, Chatelain said.
AGB Search officials could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
The firm was in Baton Rouge in late June interviewing faculty, deans and alumni collecting input on the type of leader best suited for LSU, Chatelain said.
“We want to make sure we are listening to people so that everybody is on the same page,” Chatelain said.
The firm came to Baton Rouge in 2006 to help with a previous presidential search. During that process, the idea of consolidating the system president position with the Baton Rouge campus chancellor was discussed.
LSU Board Chairman Hank Danos, of Larose, on Tuesday, said he expects those same conversations could come up again this time around.
LSU’s Baton Rouge campus has been without a leader since May when Chancellor Michael Martin announced that he was leaving the final year of his contract on the table to become the head of the Colorado State University System.
Former System President and Baton Rouge campus Chancellor William Jenkins came out of retirement and is currently doing both jobs on an interim basis.
Danos said the board is comfortable with Jenkins in both roles as the board searches for one or two high-level executives in the coming months.
“We are going to look for what we think we need as a leader. Whether the president and chancellor positions are consolidated or not, we will look at national trends and we will look at how we can be more efficient,” Danos said.
The need for increased efficiency is the result of Louisiana’s colleges relying more on tuition as state funding for higher education has declined by more than $420 million since 2008, Danos said.
“We hope that in the next month or so we will have come down with some broad objectives that will help us define what type of leader we need.” Danos said. “We could have our leader early next year.”
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