Thursday, 20 Jan 2022

CU interim president Todd Saliman steps up as search team starts national hunt

The University of Colorado’s interim president says he’ll seek the permanent position and has notified CU’s governing regents as a 16-member team begins a national search for candidates.

CU’s Todd Saliman has been filling in at the regents’ request following the resignation under fire in June of the previous president, socially conservative former congressman Mark Kennedy.

“CU is an extraordinary place. I would be honored to work with the regents, chancellors, students, faculty and staff to make it even better,” Saliman said, confirming his decision in a Denver Post interview Tuesday evening.

Last week, Saliman notified eight of CU’s nine governing regents that he’ll apply for the job. (Gov. Jared Polis on Monday appointed a new regent to fill a vacancy.)

Regents last year appointed Saliman to run CU’s four-campus system after negotiating a settlement with Kennedy, a former Minnesota congressman who came to CU from the University of North Dakota. Faculty members had censured Kennedy for “failure to lead” on matters of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Saliman previously served for eight years as a state lawmaker, including work on the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee from 1998 until 2002. He also served under Gov. Bill Ritter as director of the Office of State Planning and Budgeting, which involved consultations with lawmakers to develop strategies and set spending levels. At CU, he has worked as a senior vice president for strategy, government relations and as chief financial officer.

A 16-member CU president search committee met last week and launched a process for picking a new president. They’ve hired the Pennsylvania-based firm Storbeck Search to assist. Regent Lesley Smith, leader of the committee, has promised an open process. The committee includes faculty, staff, students, deans, alumni, donors and residents from around the state. Smith has set a goal of voting on a finalist or finalists by spring.

Smith on Monday declined to comment on Saliman’s decision. CU spokesman Mike Sandler said the search committee “encourages anyone who is interested in the position to apply.”

“I know the Board of Regents will conduct a thorough and thoughtful search,” Saliman said. “The process for me will be no different than for any other candidates.”

In September, the regents amended Saliman’s interim presidency contract to allow him to throw his hat in the ring to be president. CU presidents are paid about $850,000 a year.

Saliman was born and grew up in Colorado and graduated from CU-Boulder. Previous CU presidents who came from Colorado include former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown and oil businessman Bruce Benson.

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