Panel ponders presidents

Sure, we want the scoop on who will be the new Chico State University president, but we’re not going to stalk the San Francisco Airport to get it.

Members of the search committees will meet Oct. 2-3 at a hotel near the airport to interview the semi-finalists, who were selected at a closed Sept. 12 meeting on the Chico State campus. Fewer than 10 people remain in the running, said Colleen Bentley-Adler, spokesperson for the CSU Chancellor’s Office.

“It is absolutely on schedule,” Bentley-Adler said. “If all goes well we should have a new president selected by the end of next month.”

After the hotel interviews (also closed to the public), three to five finalists will visit Chico State, probably during the week of Oct. 20, when at a rate of one per day they will open themselves up to scrutiny and questions from faculty members, staff, students and the media.

The final decision lies with the CSU Board of Trustees, which will likely convene a special meeting in late October, since its regular one won’t come until Nov. 17-18. Once selected, the new president will have some leeway as to when he or she will start, but Bentley-Adler expects it would be at the end of this calendar year or early in 2004.

The pre-president mood at Chico State hasn’t been frantic, largely because there’s stability at the top. Interim President Scott McNall is getting along fine, and campus groups aren’t fighting among themselves. (The Chancellor’s Office faced some criticism when the decision came down to put other campus searches ahead of Chico State’s, even though President Manuel Esteban had announced his retirement earlier.)

Committee members relayed positive feelings about how the confidential search is progressing.

"We have a good team [that’s] working well together," said Sarah Blackstone, dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and a member of the advisory committee.