- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2016

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri’s faculty council is urging the Board of Curators to pick someone with an academic background to lead the four-campus system.

In discussing the search process Thursday, the council said the eventual pick should also show a willingness to listen to students and faculty, the Columbia Missourian reported (http://bit.ly/1UQJeA4 ).

The system is seeking a replacement for system president Tim Wolfe, a former business executive with no previous experience in academic leadership. He resigned in November under pressure after students protested the handling of racial issues and other problems on the Columbia campus.

French professor Flore Z├ęphir said she wants the new president to have plenty of experience in higher education.

“I don’t think someone coming from the business model overnight makes the transition and is effective as an academic leader,” Zephir said.

Rebecca Graves, educational services librarian in the Health Sciences Library, said the president needs to know how to listen to students and faculty and truly understand their concerns.

“They have to be part of the group. It’s not necessarily about them,” Graves said.

Nicole Monnier, associate professor in the Department of German and Russian Studies, said she wants to see more diversity in the UM System and the new president could be a good place to start.

“I’d like to see someone other than a white man in a suit at the head of system,” she said.

Other council members expressed a preference that the new president has at least a doctorate.

Tim McIntosh, a human resource consultant for the UM System, said that requirement has been a concern of other faculty groups but has not been mirrored by staff and “other constituencies.”

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Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.columbiamissourian.com

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