COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - University of Missouri leaders are moving quickly from honoring Brady Deaton's looming retirement to looking for his replacement as Columbia campus chancellor.
University system President Tim Wolfe said Friday after meeting with the Board of Curators that he expects to have a new MU chancellor in place to coincide with Deaton's planned departure on Nov. 15. He acknowledged the five-month timetable is ambitious, given that similar higher education leadership searches often take up to a year, if not longer.
At the same time, Wolfe said, "We will not sacrifice quality for time."
Deaton, 70, announced his plans Wednesday. He has been chancellor since 2004 after six years as provost and another five years as chief of staff and deputy chancellor. The former Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand will be executive director of a new MU research center: the Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development.
Deaton will earn $200,000 annually to work at the institute, compared to his $337,488 yearly salary as chancellor. Wolfe said the institute will receive $50,000 in startup money from the university system but will otherwise largely tap into existing resources, including interdisciplinary faculty experts. The center builds on Deaton's work as chairman of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, a position for which Deaton was appointed by President Barack Obama.
"We're not looking to build up a big staff," said Deaton, who remains a tenured professor agricultural economics after first arriving on campus in 1989. "This will enable me to work with the ongoing programs we have underway. ... It's an opportunity to mobilize the tremendous talent we have."
The nine curators met behind closed doors Friday morning for nearly two hours. Wolfe said the board has not decided whether to hire an executive search firm, a common option for university governing boards. The search will remain private - unlike other public universities, Missouri won't disclose the names of any applicants or finalists - to attract the largest number of qualified candidates possible, Wolfe said.
Wolfe said he wants a new chancellor with "similar academic and leadership stature" as Deaton but doesn't feel bound to hire another leader from academia, which he called "desirable but not absolutely mandatory."
An internal search committee will help guide the chancellor search, Wolfe said, though its members have not been determined.
Deaton's departure is the highest-profile of several recent leadership changes under Wolfe, who took over in early 2012. Nikki Krawitz, a vice president for finance and administration who worked under six UM presidents, is retiring. So is Mike Nichols, a vice president of research and economic development. And a new vice president for academic affairs and research, Hank Foley, arrives from Pennsylvania State University, where he was vice president for research and graduate school dean.