The quest to find a new captain for the helm of the University of Iowa has entered a new phase.
On Tuesday evening, the UI Presidential Search Committee met on the second floor of the University Capitol Center and narrowed the field of applicants down from 46 to nine.
UI interim President Jean Robillard said the next step will take place Aug. 11-12, when the committee will fly to Chicago to meet the candidates and interview them.
These “airport interviews” are called such because they most often take place in a hotel or other venue near an airport in order to allow a search panel to interview a large number of candidates from many different areas.
Committee members will be able to securely submit questions they would like the candidates to be asked at the interviews.
Robillard said the UI will pay travel and lodging expenses for the candidates. Though the field has been whittled down, an exact venue for the interviews in Chicago has not been set.
“It’s a good group of candidates,” Robillard said. “All different sorts of people applied from a lot of different fields of work.”
He also stressed the importance of confidentiality at this stage in the search.
“We want to maintain confidentiality about the applicants at this time in the search,” he said.
Although the nine airport interviews aren’t scheduled to take place until later this month, he said, the panel has has three or four finalists in mind.
“When we give the finalists to the regents for them to make their decision, I’m sure we’ll feel good about it,” he said.
After the airport interviews, the remaining finalists will visit the UI campus from Aug. 31-Sept. 3 and have public interviews.
On Sept. 4, the state Board of Regents will interview each of the finalists in a series of interviews that will be closed to the public.
Shortly afterward, the regents are expected to announce their choice for the new president.
Robillard said the committee does not take lightly the task of finding a new leader for the university.
“These kinds of decisions aren’t easy,” he said. “This committee has worked well together, and I’m confident we will find the right fit for this university.”
The committee will take every dimension of the UI into consideration when making its decision, Robillard said.
“This is a serious discussion we’re having,” he said. “We’re trying to find the person who will continue to lead us forward, and we want to make sure we get it right.”