Search for U of M president begins

As University of Memphis students gear up for the new semester, some returning students may notice the change in administration. On July 1, President R. Brad Martin replaced retiring Shirley Raines, who had served as president since 2001.

Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan announced Martin as the interim president earlier this year.

“The good thing that Brad Martin brings to the table for this interim assignment is that he is committed to this University, but he is also a businessman,” Morgan said. “He’s a successful businessman who can look at the University through a different perspective than an academician can.”

After graduating from the U of M in 1976, Martin worked his way up to chairman and chief executive officer of Saks Incorporated, which includes luxury brands like Saks Fifth Avenue. He retired in 2007. He is currently the chairman ofRBM Venture Company, a private investment firm.

Monica Greppin-Watts, communications director for the Tennessee Board of Regents, said the search for a new University president still has a long way to go.

“There will be a search committee that is formed, and the chancellor is advised by the search committee,” she said.

According to the board’s FAQ about the process, finding a new university president can take around six months.

“Each search is unique, and this search will include participation from the Board of Visitors as well,” Greppin-Watts said. “We aim to craft a process that best suits your campus.”

Because the University is still early in its search process, a specific criterion for the new president has yet to be identified. After that has been determined, anyone can nominate someone or apply for the president’s position.

“What we’ve done in the past is use a search firm to help spark interest and get people to apply,” Greppin-Watts said. “We do solicit applications for the position.”

In 2012, state law changed whether or not information about a presidential candidate could become public. Since the law passed, candidates can request confidentiality until they are considered to be a finalist for the position.

When the information about finalists becomes public, students and members of the public can attend meetings or interview sessions.

After the interview sessions have concluded, the committee will not meet again.

Each member lets the chancellor know his or her views. The chancellor also hears the views of any groups on or off campus who have met with the candidates.

During his term here in Memphis, while the Tennessee Board Regents finds a permanent president, Martin has just as many responsibilities as his successor and predecessor.

“President Martin is fortunate to have a very talented leadership team to work with at (the) U of M,” Greppin-Watts said.

On average, the chancellor organizes two presidential searches a year due to retirements or resignations, according to the chancellor’s office. Currently, Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tenn., is also looking for a president.

This article was previously published in August 2013.


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