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Presidential search process continues moving forward ‘as scheduled’

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In May President Natalicio announced she will be retiring after 30 years as UTEP president.

The search process for UTEP’s next president to succeed Dr. Diana Natalicio is “moving forward as scheduled,” according to the University of Texas System.

In late August, the UT System announced a search advisory committee was put together to help the Board of Regents in selecting a new president, with the assistance of Russell Reynold Associates, a global search firm.

Members of the committee include Board of Regents Vice Chairman Paul Foster, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and SGA President Cristian Botello.

“The search is proceeding well, and the committee is reviewing potential candidates,” said Karen Adler, director of media relations for the UT System.

Adler could not comment on where exactly the committee is in the process, or how long it will take before a list of candidates will be submitted to the Board of Regents. The search process is completely confidential, per UT System rules and regulations.

In May, President Natalicio announced she would be retiring after 30 years as UTEP president.

President Natalicio told The Prospector during her announcement, “I will be happy to serve as long as I need to in order to make a smooth transition.” In an interview with Borderzine, Natalicio said she would like to stay in place until her successor is named.

After Russell Reynold conducts their search, their list of candidates is turned over to the committee. Once the committee conducts two rounds of interviews, they will then submit a list of three to four candidates to the Regents.

They are expected to submit those finalists by early 2019. However, it is unclear how long it will take the Board of Regents to select Natalicio’s successor.

Board of Regents Chairman, Sara Martinez Tucker, told the Prospector, “The board and I are eager to appoint a president who will build upon President Natalicio’s immeasurable impact on UTEP and Texas, especially in the areas of student success and research contributions.”

It is also unclear if the Fall 2018 commencement will be Natalicio’s last commencement as UTEP’s president.

“I really don’t know that for sure because what I agreed to do was to continue to serve as president until my successor is in place,” Natalicio told Borderzine. “And so that depends on the search process over which I have no control.”

The committee met for the first time in early October, where they held a town hall meeting on the UTEP campus to receive the community’s input on who they would like to see in the next president.

At the town hall, many community members filled up the Fox Fine Arts expressing their concern as to how the committee was selected stating there is a lack of inclusiveness in the presidential search. 

Natalicio told Borderzine that while it is somewhat difficult to strike a balance in the process of selecting her successor, she believes the faculty members and one UTEP student, SGA President Cristian Botello, do offer a degree of balance.

“Several of the faculty members on the committee are from El Paso and went to UTEP. They are all El Pasoans,” Natalicio said. “As long members of the committee are actively participating, I think there’ll be a lively dialogue.” 

The biggest question still remains unanswered. Who will become UTEP’s next president and take on the challenge of following in Dr. Natalicio’s footsteps?

“We’ll just have to wait and see how all that comes together,” Natalicio told Borderzine.

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Presidential search process continues moving forward ‘as scheduled’