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State Board could appoint short-term Boise State president by the end of the week

The Idaho State Board of Education could appoint an interim Boise State University president as early as Friday, according to a press release.

Board members will meet June 1 at the Board's Boise headquarters for an executive session before moving into an open session later in the day. Members will vote on a possible appointment during the open session.

The Board announced May 24 that after a first round of interviews it would extend and expand the search for the next BSU president.

As first reported by the Idaho Statesman on May 19, some members of the search committee, business leaders and residents at large have voiced concern that the search for BSU's new president did not bring forward candidates up to the challenge to replace retiring President Bob Kustra.

The decision to extend the search was announced during an open board meeting held on the Boise State campus, one day after the board conducted interviews with three finalists.

“This does not reflect on the finalists – all are very qualified and accomplished,” Board President Linda Clark said in a statement.

The board will next work to identify and appoint an interim president, while it continues the search.

“Extending the search was the right decision for the Board to make,” Clark said. “We are committed to taking the time necessary to find an outstanding leader who is the best fit for Boise State University.”

The three finalists — James Lentini, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Oakland University; Kevin Reynolds, vice president for finance and administration at Portland State University; and Daniel Weeks, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Northern British Columbia — were be interviewed by the board on Wednesday.

Clark previously told the Statesman she is both aware of, and frustrated by, the concerns. They're something the board is taking seriously, she said, but she emphasized it's important to see the search process through.

The Boise State search committee, which included State Board members and university and community leaders, winnowed the original 53 applicants to 12 semifinalists, and then to five finalists, each of whom visited Boise in late April. Two finalists, Robbyn Wacker of Northern Colorado University and Jack Thomas of Western Illinois University, withdrew.

People have been quietly critical of AGB Search, the company hired by the Idaho Board of Education to run the search, saying that the pool of presidential candidates for BSU was not strong or deep enough to begin with.