La Tourette silent on vice president position searches

By Peter Schuh

Two weeks past his self-imposed deadline, NIU President John La Tourette has not announced whether NIU will pursue internal or external searches to fill the positions of two vice presidents.

In his Aug. 30 letter to the faculty, La Tourette announced he intended to fill the positions of provost and vice president for Development and Alumni Relations with an internal search. Historically, both positions have been filled through external or nationwide searches.

In his letter La Tourette encouraged input from the faculty but said if he did not receive a compelling reason to go with an external search in two weeks, NIU would proceed with an internal search.

It has been four weeks and no decision has been made. If it has, NIU has been kept in the dark about it to this point.

Although several attempts have been made to contact La Tourette, the only word, via his secretary, is that there still is no decision.

Acting NIU Provost J. Carroll Moody and Curtiss Behrens, University Council executive secretary, said they did not know whether a decision had been made.

Behrens said he expected to hear a decision within the next two weeks.

“I assume some sort of decision would be coming out no later than Oct. 13,” he said. “That’s when the next University Council meeting will be held.”

Robert Suchner, associate professor of sociology and a UC member, said he expects La Tourette to announce a decision within a week.

“I would certainly think he would have some sort of decision within a week,” he said. “If he doesn’t there’s likely to be some questions at the next Faculty Senate meeting.”

The FS meets on Oct. 6. At its meeting last month a discussion on La Tourette’s proposal spawned much controversy and an FS resolution. The resolution endorsed a nationwide search for both positions.

Suchner said, “The issue here is that (La Tourette) needs to figure out what it is he wants to do and give the decision on a timeline with a sufficient amount of time to conduct a national search if that is his decision.”

Suchner said if NIU pursues an external search then advertisements would have to be made early enough in the fall for NIU to conduct interviews this spring.

“You really don’t hire a provost in the summer for the fall,” he said. “(La Tourette’s) really pushing the outside limit of when we can begin a national search.”

Suchner also said he does not feel La Tourette is intentionally stalling.

“My guess is it’s the influence of other things on his schedule, maybe the Board of Regents meeting after his trip to Spain,” he said. “I think it’s also indicative of the fact that he’s received a lot of comments from faculty.”