‘U OF T WANNABES’ NOT NEEDED

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By Jordan Press

If all goes as planned, Ryerson should know who its next president will be by January and a similar search across town shouldn’t cause any problems here, said Michael Guerriere, chair of the Board of Governors.

Over the summer, University of Toronto president Robert Birgeneau suddenly resigned to take the top job at the University of California at Berkeley. That set off a presidential search Ryerson hadn’t planned for.

Guerriere said the rival search shouldn’t hurt Ryerson’s chances of landing a top candidate. The university had already accounted for searches at Carleton University and the University of Alberta.

U of T is now on that list. “I don’t expect there to be a great deal of overlap in terms of candidates,” he said. “We’re not looking for someone who aspires to be a U of T-wannabe. We want to maintain what’s distinctive about Ryerson.”

Since last year, Ryerson has been looking for a successor for President Claude Lajeunesse, whose term ends in July 2005. Interviews for the position should begin by October and the commmittee should have a final candidate by December.

The Board of Governors has to ratify the appointment in January if all goes according to plan. If things go wrong, the board has a six-month cushion before Lajeunesse’s term ends. The board would have to appoint an interim president until the position is filled. “I don’t anticipate having an interim anything,” Guerriere said. “I’m very hopeful that we will conclude the search on time and have an appointment that starts next summer.”

The next president will have some tough challenges during that term, including overseeing a $250 million budget and a $210 million capital expansion. “It’s rough right now because we’ve got constraints on government grants, we’ve got constraints on tuition with the tuition freeze and yet the costs of wages and salaries go up every year,” Guerriere said.

“So you end up with a very tight fiscal situation.”

Students have expressed a need for the president to improve the quality of teaching, education and social life on campus, Guerriere said.

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