UPDATE: presidential search analysis

*This is an update on the post titled “A quick, semi-speculative presidential search analysis” that I published Monday night about this week’s developments in the UM System presidential search.*

I’ll be straightforward — I was wrong. My initial hunch that the UM System Board of Curators would announce a new president this week turns out to be incorrect.

I talked about this gut feeling with UM System spokeswoman Jennifer Hollingshead after Tuesday’s search advisory committee meeting and I believe that may have prompted the phone call I received while I worked on my story.

Hollingshead called to explain that after talking with board Chairman Warren Erdman that she didn’t want to string people along and leave folks confident that the meeting with a single candidate today would mean that we should expect a presidential selection Friday morning.

I think my openness with her — and my not-so-subtle assertion to her that I really did believe we’d have a new president this week — put her in a position where she saw what direction my writing would take. On the phone we even spoke about how the nature of Tuesday’s meeting certainly made it seem to the all of the media present that the search was all but officially over.

But, she assured me that the search is very much alive and kicking. Which means I need a new hunch…

Now I think I may understand the procedure the rest of this search could take. Perhaps (and of course, I’m still stuck speculating here) the search advisory committee will reconvene again — and even once (twice?) more — and interview this list of the curator’s decided finalists one by one.

That would mean that over winter break this advisory committee could continue to interview candidates individually and get a sense for which finalist they think is the best fit for the system. And that means we’ve still got some time on our hands.

This revelation changes things for me, and shakes up any idea of a timeline that I thought I had. Frankly, I think we may just have to wait and see how this week plays out before I can predict how things may continue.

I’ll be in St. Louis for the board’s regularly scheduled December meetings this Thursday and Friday. As always, I’ll be tweeting from @zach_murdock, blogging right here and publishing on columbiamissourian.com — follow along at all three for the latest (and I’d say most comprehensive) coverage/analysis of the #prezsearch.

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