WVU Search To Take Months

MORGANTOWN – It won’t be easy finding a replacement for outgoing West Virginia University President Jim Clements, but the school’s board of governors members have already held an emergency session to discuss his resignation and will meet again today in a special meeting aimed at selecting an interim president, said Board Chairman Jim Dailey II.

The 10 a.m. meeting will be held on campus at Stewart Hall, while the next regularly scheduled meeting – the 17-member board routinely meets six times annually – is set for Dec. 20.

Since the university’s hiring process is inclusive, it takes time and certain procedures have to be followed before another step can be taken, Dailey said.

Clements, who spent nearly five years in Morgantown before announcing his resignation Nov. 11, is leaving to become president at Clemson University and plans to be in his new South Carolina post in January. He will be present for WVU’s graduation ceremony Dec. 20 but also plans to take some personal time after that, Dailey said.

There’s no time to waste since the nationwide search could take months and officials hope a new president will be in place for fall 2014, he said.

“For example, once we get the interim president on board, we have procedures and policies we have to follow in order to create a search committee so that we can then search for a permanent president. It is definitely a very formalized process,” Dailey said.

The search committee will “bring in folks from all walks of life at the university, including faculty, students, staff and alumni because all of these interests need to be considered,” he said.

Dailey said Clements told him about his decision Nov. 10 and an emergency meeting was held Nov. 13 in Morgantown. It wasn’t a total surprise, however, as Clements had kept Dailey and other board members informed about “numerous contacts from other universities across the country,” he said.

“So I was aware that Clemson had been seriously looking at him, and I give him a lot of credit for that,” Dailey said.

While the interim president can either be an in-house candidate or someone without ties to the university, the successful candidate is barred from applying for the president’s position, he said.

Search committee members may choose to use a professional organization that specializes in providing potential candidates or simply consider applicants who come to them directly or from other recommendations.

He said both the interim and new presidential selection must also be approved by the state Higher Education Policy Commission. State approval is also required in terms of the new president’s salary. When he was originally hired, Clements’ salary was $450,000 but was later increased to $775,000, Dailey said.

Salary negotiations will be conducted with the successful candidate, he said.