Boise State University

This is Boise State's new interim president, replacing Kustra

Why did the Board of Ed have to appoint an Boise State interim president?

Dr. Linda Clark, president of the Idaho State Board of Education, explains and defends the hiring process.
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Dr. Linda Clark, president of the Idaho State Board of Education, explains and defends the hiring process.

Martin Schimpf, a longtime Boise State University faculty member, will replace retiring BSU President Bob Kustra — for now.

Schimpf, who most recently served as the university's provost and vice president for academic affairs, was selected on Friday by the Idaho State Board of Education to lead the university in an interim role when Kustra retires June 30. Schimpf will begin his yearlong role July 1.

"I care deeply about our university and believe we have an incredibly bright future," Schimpf said. "I look forward to working with my fellow faculty, staff and students, as well as our alumni, donors, partners and friends, in sustaining our positive momentum and continuing the success of this great university."

The selection was announced by the board after a 35-minute executive session.

"We wanted an interim president who has the trust of the campus community and can maintain Boise State's momentum," State Board President Linda Clark said in a written statement Friday. "Dr. Schimpf fits that description perfectly."

"What you need in an interim is someone that can provide continuity, can provide calmness," Clark said at Friday's board meeting.

BSU President Bob Kustra will retire in June 2018. In a Nov. 17, 2017 interview, he said Boise State University's growth and transformation over the years is perhaps his proudest achievement.

Schimpf came to Boise State in 1990, according to background information provided by the board. Before serving as provost, he was chairman of the chemistry department and associate dean of the college of arts and sciences.

"The continuity that he will provide is really the largest and single most important factor," Clark said. "Serving as the provost as he has, he's well acquainted with the university and its staff. He will provide that continuity that we need over this next year while we search for this next president."

Schimpf has chemistry degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Utah.

The university announced last fall that Schimpf would step down as provost June 30. He was preparing to return to a chemistry professor position this fall, but he agreed to postpone that decision. Tony Roark was named interim provost and vice president of academic affairs, Schimpf's former position.

Schimpf will be paid $390,860 for his year as interim president.

Searches continue

The State Board announced May 24 that after a first round of interviews and the choosing of five finalists, it would extend and expand the search for the next BSU president. Some business leaders, search committee members and university supporters were quietly critical of AGB Search, the company hired by the board to run the search, saying that the pool of presidential candidates for BSU was not strong or deep enough to begin with.

"When the board made the decision to continue this search, at the same time, the board made the decision to go with an interim then," Clark said. "In our deliberations, we discussed the possibilities and then we reached out to the individual that we wanted that we thought was best qualified to do this."

The board’s staff is already working to create a new request for proposal for a president, and interested firms will respond to that request, Clark said. The search will resume this fall.

“It's a short window that we have to make sure that you do the right thing to continue the continuity and the trust and confidence that the folks have," Clark said.

Clark said Friday that it's undetermined what agency the board will use to continue the search. She emphasized that “Boise State is on the move” and that maintaining that momentum is paramount to the university’s success.

"I have no idea who the search firm will be for this because it's a competitive process," Clark said.

So far, the search by AGB had cost the Board of Education $70,800. That includes $58,000 in search fees and $12,800 in expenses for the consultants. On top of that BSU spent more than $30,000 to lodge and host the five finalists.

Clark said she didn't believe the process was flawed, but the board "just didn't believe we had found the right match for Boise State."

The firm the board hired also conducted searches for presidents at Lewis-Clark State College and Idaho State University simultaneously. All three searches occurred over the past seven months.

Cynthia Pemberton was selected to serve as the next president of Lewis-Clark State College. She will begin on July 1. Kevin Satterlee, who served as Boise State University’s chief operating officer, special counsel and as a vice president, will become the 13th president of Idaho State University on June 18.

The board will have to conduct one more presidential search in the near future after it announced that University of Idaho President Chuck Staben will leave after the 2018-19 school year. That's the last year of Staben's existing contract.

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