- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) - Eastern Michigan University’s board has selected a new president for the Ypsilanti school.

The university announced Friday that James Smith takes over as its 23rd president on July 1. He has served as president of Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota, since 2009, and before that he was vice president for economic development at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Under terms of the five-year contract, Smith’s annual salary will be $400,000, with annual performance-based bonuses of 10 percent.

Smith replaces former Eastern Michigan President Susan Martin, who stepped down from the position last year, and two interim presidents.

Smith said in a release that he’s “honored” to lead the school and called it an “outstanding opportunity.”

“Eastern Michigan University is poised for wonderful things, with terrific curricula that are appealing to undergraduate, graduate, transfer and non-traditional students,” he said. “I am looking forward to getting to know Eastern’s esteemed faculty members, student support staff, and of course, the outstanding students at Eastern.”

The board adopted a model for its presidential search in which finalists were interviewed by the board only, the Detroit Free Press reported. When the board hired Martin, she and other finalists were brought to campus for public meetings and interviews.

Regent Michelle Crumm, who is heading the search committee, previously told the newspaper the key reason for the switch is to attract experienced candidates. Faculty and staff have objected to this approach, and argued the board was violating its commitment to transparency.

Crumm said in a news conference she hopes all parties can “work really well together in the future.”

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