University of Maine System (UMS) Chancellor Dannel P. Malloy called Thursday for an immediate review of all active employment searches across the university system — including those led or supported by outside search consulting firms — and the System’s human resources policies on how employment searches are conducted.
The review is expected to lead to policy changes and other improvements to correct problems that surfaced in the recently concluded University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) presidential search. In that search, which was facilitated by a managing director with the Storbeck Search consulting firm, a search committee of university and community representatives was not informed that the candidate ultimately offered the UMA presidency had been the subject of no-confidence votes in October 2021 from the College Senate at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Delhi. The information had been provided earlier to Chancellor Malloy and the chair of the search committee, UMS Trustee Sven Bartholomew. As a result, the UMA Faculty Senate passed resolutions Wednesday night demanding that the presidential search be cancelled and expressing no confidence in the UMS Chancellor.
In announcing the reviews to university presidents and other system leaders yesterday afternoon via email, Malloy wrote, “It is critically important that our employment searches are managed with integrity and that all relevant information about applicants for employment is available to be carefully considered by those charged with responsibility for vetting candidates and making recommendations to the hiring manager or authority. This is true whether or not the search is led, supported, or facilitated by an outside vendor retained by UMS for that purpose.”
Malloy asked that university leaders identify all pending employment searches that are being supported by outside search consultants by next Wednesday, May 18.
Malloy also charged Chief Human Resources Officer Loretta Shields to undertake an immediate review of all UMS policies that apply to the conduct of employment searches and report within 30 days with recommendations as to whether changes should be made to any policies to ensure that UMS applies and is following best practices regarding employment searches and that all relevant information about applicants for employment is available to be carefully considered by those charged with responsibility for vetting candidates and making recommendations to a UMS hiring manager or authority.
Finally, Chancellor Malloy announced earlier this week that he would be proposing revisions to UMS employment search policies for president and provost positions to require a declaration from candidates as to whether they have ever been the subject of a no-confidence vote.
Chancellor Malloy advised university presidents that he expected to report to the UMS Board of Trustees as soon as possible after the conclusion of the reviews.
Following receipt of the UMA’s Faculty Senate resolutions yesterday, the UMS Board of Trustees issued a statement last night that it was reviewing what can be done to improve the integrity of UMS presidential searches, as well as the confidence of the system’s university communities in them.
About the University of Maine System
Established in 1968, the University of Maine System (UMS) unites seven Maine’s distinctive public universities, comprising 10 campuses and numerous centers, in the common purpose of providing quality higher education while delivering on its traditional tripartite mission of teaching, research, and public service.
In 2020 UMS became the first and only statewide enterprise of public higher education in the country to transition to a unified accreditation for the system. Much different than a merger or consolidation, unified accreditation is a new operating model for the University of Maine System that removes the primary barrier to inter-institutional collaboration.
A comprehensive public institution of higher education, UMS serves more than 30,000 students annually and is supported by the efforts of more than 2,000 full-time and part-time faculty, more than 3,000 regular full-time and part-time staff, and a complement of part-time temporary (adjunct) faculty.
Reaching more than 500,000 people annually through educational and cultural offerings, the University of Maine System also benefits from more than two-thirds of its alumni population residing within the state; more than 123,000 individuals.
The System consists of seven main campuses: The University of Maine (UMaine), including its regional campus the University of Maine at Machias (UMM); the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA); the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF); the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK), the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI); and the University of Southern Maine (USM). The System also includes a UMA campus in Bangor, USM campuses in Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn, the University of Maine School of Law, and the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center.