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Oregon Tech Trustees approve presidential search process, nominate Dr. Jay Kenton as Interim President

Apr 13, 2016
Dr. Jay Kenton, currently Oregon Tech's Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration, nominated as interim president of Oregon Tech

The Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, met today telephonically to approve several of the process steps in its search for the next president of Oregon Tech.

Dr. Lisa Graham, Chair of the Board of Trustees, led the committee through decisions on agenda items related to establishing a presidential search committee: hiring a search firm, nominating a Search Chair, nominating an interim president, and the transition plan for Oregon Tech President Chris Maples.

Transition Plan     Chair Graham said that the transition plan for President Maples will provide an opportunity for him to remain focused on the campus until the end of his contract on June 30. Because of his expertise and knowledge base, the Board wants to ensure that Dr. Maples has a retainer agreement until the end of 2016 to act in an advisory capacity to ensure continuity. Chair Graham noted that the next step will be her review of the transition plan with the president.

Presidential Search Committee Chair Appointment     Chair Graham described the need to select a Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, and the role that individual would have. Chair Graham nominated Board Trustee Kelley Minty Morris, describing her professionalism, understanding of the Klamath Falls community in the many roles she plays, and her connections to the business community, which will also be helpful in understanding the needs of the Wilsonville campus. Trustees were unanimous in their support to establish the Presidential Search Committee and appoint Trustee Minty Morris as Search Chair. Trustee Minty Morris commented that she was really looking forward to taking on this role and appreciated the confidence of the committee. She said that it is an important search for the campus and community, and the committee will work hard to make sure it does its due diligence and manages the search effectively.

Review of RFQ to Hire a Search Firm     Chair Graham described the public university Request For Quotes (RFQ) process for reviewing search firms to help the presidential search committee effectively complete their work. The RFQ will be published and sent to several firms this week. Trustees will receive the top ranked proposals, which executive staff will review in advance.

Plan of Action for Interim Presidential Position     Oregon Tech Board Vice Chair, Steve Sliwa, presented a motion to nominate an interim president candidate to help stabilize the campus and promote shared governance. Trustee Sliwa noted that President Maples recently brought in Dr. Jay Kenton as Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration, and that he has made great progress in a short time. Dr. Kenton’s background, including a PhD in public administration and policy, make him an excellent candidate as Interim President.  His previous roles include Interim President at Eastern Oregon University, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration at the Oregon University System, Vice President of Finance and Administration at Portland State University and, very early in his career, working for Oregon Tech in the finance area. Dr. Kenton has also taught at the university level and served as a faculty advisor to students, so he has experience across the board serving faculty, staff and students.

Trustee Paul Stewart noted that there were a few other individuals who had expressed interest in being an interim, but that Dr. Kenton has a stronger, better matched background. Trustee Peterson agreed, noting that Dr. Kenton has already demonstrated his belief in transparency and shared governance; and that he is able to ensure that Oregon Tech has a continued relationship at the state level, which his experience at EOU and OUS have provided. After further discussion the Committee voted unanimously to recommend that the Board appoint Dr. Kenton as the Interim President of the Oregon Institute of Technology. The full board is expected to meet in the next few weeks.

Dr. Kenton said that he is humbled to be considered for Interim President and appreciates the Board’s confidence. If selected, he said he would be honored to follow President Maples, who is leaving the campus in a positive position. Dr. Kenton noted some of President Maples accomplishments, including strong academic programs, strong reserves, an improved brand, and a better, more visible location in the Portland metro area with the Wilsonville campus. Dr. Kenton said that Oregon Tech has an opportunity to reshape the university with the current leadership openings, and embrace change and adapt to a changing environment, including aligning resources with priorities. Dr. Kenton said, “The glass is more than half full at Oregon Tech and is filling rapidly by the moment.” 

Trustees also thanked President Maples for his hard work over the last eight years, and board leaders said that they looked forward to working with him over the next few months, and are pleased with how his choices have set Oregon Tech up for a smooth transition.


About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is the premier public polytechnic institution in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering and health technologies, management, technology, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through hands-on, applied and relevant learning. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.

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