The University of Utah Presidential Search
Update, June 7, 2021:
The search for a new president to lead the University of Utah continues to move forward. The search committee recently met to review applications received. The breadth and depth of the pool of applicants was outstanding and included an impressive group of candidates from diverse backgrounds and having many strengths. While the task of narrowing the pool of candidates was challenging, the search committee has selected 11 individuals to interview in coming weeks. The committee will then forward up to five finalists to the Utah Board of Higher Education for consideration. Prior to interviews with the board, the finalists will meet with on-campus groups, including the U’s Board of Trustees, the President’s Cabinet, faculty and staff, and students. An update will be posted about dates, times and locations of public campus meetings with the candidates once the finalists are selected.
University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins announced on Jan. 12, 2021, she is stepping down in April 2021 to accept a position as president of Strada Impact.
This site will provide ongoing updates about the search for a new president to lead the University of Utah, beginning with background about the process as outlined below.
The Utah Board of Higher Education oversees the selection of new presidents for public universities and colleges throughout the state. It announced a presidential search committee for the U’s top post in February.
As outlined by policy R203, the committee includes representatives of the Utah Board of Higher Education and faculty, staff, students, senior administrators at the U, the U’s Board of Trustees, alumni and community.
The committee will host public meetings to explain the search process and to seek input on qualifications of ideal candidates to carry forward the U’s momentum. It also will oversee the search, receive nominations and applications, and review and vet applicants.
Once the search committee identifies three to five leading candidates, it will forward the names of those individuals to the Utah Board of Higher Education and the executive committee of the U’s Board of Trustees for additional evaluation. The Utah Board of Higher Education will then select the new president.
Please submit nominations, applications or inquiries to Zachary Smith of WittKieffer, the consulting firm assisting with the search, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Search Process
The Utah Board of Higher Education oversees the selection of new presidents for public universities and colleges throughout the state. It expects to announce a presidential search committee for the U’s top post by the end of January 2021.
Open application deadlines will be announced once the search committee has been formed.
The Presidential Search Committee
On Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, the Utah Board of Higher Education named a 30-member committee to conduct a national search for the next president of the University of Utah. The committee is being led by Harris H. Simmons, chair of the Utah Board of Higher Education, and Christian Gardner, chair of the University of Utah Board of Trustees.
On Feb. 19, 2021, the Utah Board of Higher Education named Dr. Michael L. Good, senior vice president for Health Sciences, as interim president. He will assume the position in April.
In addition to members of the Utah Board of Higher Education, the search committee includes representatives of the U’s trustees, faculty, staff, students, administration, alumni and community members.
“The University of Utah is an institution of great national and international prominence with respect to its research, health care system, academic standing and student success,” Simmons said. “I am thankful for the time and expertise these committee members will be devoting to the process and I am confident in their ability to finalize a list of highly qualified candidates from which the board can ultimately select the 17th president of the University of Utah.”
The Presidential Search Committee will host public forums in coming weeks to receive input from the U community and the general public that will inform its work. Dates for those forums have not yet been set. Based on that feedback, the committee will approve a position announcement and issue a call for nominations and applications, aided by a national search firm.
The committee will screen applications and conduct interviews with candidates. The committee will then recommend three to five semifinalists to the Utah Board of Higher Education. The board intends to name a new president by fall 2021 but will take the time necessary to find the most qualified candidate.
The search committee members, in addition to Simmons and Gardner, are:
Utah Board of Higher Education
U of U Board of Trustees
Administration, Faculty & Staff
Randy DryerAcademic Senate President; lecturer, Honors College, College of Law
Smitha WarrierAssistant professor (clinical), Department of Anesthesiology
Mary Elizabeth HartnettEndowed Chair & Distinguished Professor, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences; adjunct professor, Neurobiology & Anatomy Labs & Pediatrics
Randall PetersonDean, College of Pharmacy; professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology
Sneha KaseraAssociate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Engineering; professor, School of Computing
Al LandonAssistant dean, Business Relations, David Eccles School of Business; adjunct professor, accounting
Chris LinderAssociate professor, Educational Leadership and Policy, College of Education; director, McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention
Matthew SigmanPeter and Christine S. Stang Presidential Endowed Chair, Chemistry; chair, Department of Chemistry; Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
Martell TeasleyDean and professor, College of Social Work
Alison Flynn GaffneyExecutive director, Service Lines, Ancillary & Support Services, U of U Hospitals & Clinics
Mary Ann VillarrealVice President for Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion
Bryce WilliamsPresident, Staff Council
Heidi WoodburyVice President for Institutional Advancement
Helene A. ShugartDirector of Graduate Studies
Professor, Department of Communications
Sarah Creem-RegehrProfessor, Department of Psychology
College of Social & Behavioral Science