John Ellis Price, the man who has guided UNT-Dallas through its transformation from a tiny satellite campus into an accredited, standalone university, won't be officially retired for another nine months.
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The school has been preparing for his departure for a while now, but only now has the search for a replacement begun in earnest. A California-based executive search firm placed an ad seeking candidates for the position on a higher-ed job board yesterday.
And what is the school looking for in a new president? Someone who is passionate about higher education, is an experienced leader and master fund-raiser and has people skills. All pretty standard stuff.
One thing the next president won't need is experience in academia. It's preferred, says the ad, but "exceptional candidates with nontraditional backgrounds are encouraged to advance their candidacies."
UNT-Dallas could still wind up headed by a bespectacled, tweed-wearing former professor, but don't be surprised if someone from the private sector winds up in the president's seat. This is, after all, a school that worked with Bain & Co. to develop a New University Model that emphasizes tailoring course offerings to the job market and forging much closer ties with the business world. Tweed-wearers just aren't cut out to do that.