The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees and the university’s general counsel are drafting a contract that would give UW Interim President Dick McGinity “a more permanent” position as president, according to a university official.
Chris Boswell, UW’s vice president for governmental and community affairs, confirmed Friday that work on a contract was ongoing.
Trustees President Dave Bostrom stressed that no decision has been made yet regarding McGinity’s status. The trustees are scheduled to meet Thursday in Laramie to discuss the presidency and take action if deemed necessary.
“We are preparing for whatever decision the board of trustees may make,” Bostrom said of the contract in the works.
McGinity is a former business executive and Wyoming Business Council director who has taught in UW’s College of Business since 2007. He has served as interim president since Dec. 6, when trustees appointed him to fill the role left vacant by the Nov. 14 resignation of former UW President Bob Sternberg — after less than five months on the job.
McGinity expressed interest during an interview with the Star-Tribune editorial board on Friday in securing the job for the long term.
“I am eager to serve as president of the university,” McGinity said. “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Bostrom has said he thinks McGinity would be a good fit for the university. He said recently he personally supports removing the “interim” from McGinity’s title.
“He brings what I will say, in my mind, is the view from inside academia [and] outside academia,” Bostrom said.
The trustees are scheduled to meet for two days in Laramie starting Thursday. The first item on the trustees’ agenda is an executive session to discuss personnel related to the presidency followed by a public discussion on the presidency, UW spokesman Chad Baldwin said.
McGinity said his vision for UW has three parts.
He hopes to focus first on whether students leaving UW are prepared to compete in a global economy. He wants to increase the number of college freshmen who stay at UW for a second year. The university’s current retention rate is 74 percent, McGinity said.
McGinity also hopes to improve academic excellence in research and Ph.D. production at UW.
And he wants to create more consistent interaction across the state with UW’s constituents, which range from the state Legislature to potential employers in the energy industry.
“There’s certainly been some [interaction], but I think we need to do better at it,” McGinity said. “We can do better. The university touches practically everyone in the state.”
McGinity echoed Sternberg’s emphasis on UW’s dual mission as a land grant university charged with providing an affordable education to Wyoming citizens and a flagship university, which involves leading research in the state.
“[Sternberg] described this dual mission that the university has very well, in my mind,” McGinity said. “He identified areas of emphasis that the university needs to focus on.”
Several administrative and academic positions opened during Sternberg’s tenure, which lasted from July 1 to Nov. 14. McGinity said he was confident the individuals filling those positions now were the right people to do the job.
As interim president, one of McGinity’s main projects has been preparing the university’s comprehensive strategic plan, including outlining the operations and resources involved in putting the plan in place.
Each college will develop its own strategic plan with external and internal input, McGinity said, marking a change in strategy from the task forces Sternberg favored for evaluation and review.
McGinity said he supported Gov. Matt Mead’s recommendation for anaverage salary increase of 2.5 percent during each of the next two years for UW employees.
“The compensation issue is real,” McGinity said. “And the risk of losing really superior faculty people, senior faculty people, is very real too.”
McGinity said he would prefer a three- to five-year contract to serve as UW president so he could see the university’s strategic plan through its execution phase.
“I’m happy to serve as long as the trustees are happy, as long as they feel the university is being well-led,” McGinity said. “I’m personally confident of being able to perform in this role to their and everyone else’s satisfaction. Not just confident — but determined.”