In the wake of former UND president Mark Kennedy leaving to become president at the University of Colorado, the state Board of Higher Education is looking at making changes in the presidents’ contracts.
The presidents currently sign a one-page contract. University system staff presented a draft contract, that would be longer, and would have some new language about leaving to take another job.
Board attorney Eric Olson told the Board's Governance Committee the new language requires the president to give the Board at least 60 days' notice prior to resignation.
"That's to enable the BHE to begin the process of seeking a new president, and getting an interim appointed, prior to the effective date of that resignation," Olson said.
Another clause would require the departing president to pay a “recruitment fee.”
"That would be a sum of money, meant to compensate the State Board of Higher Education and the institution for the cost of hiring the president, and the cost of seeking a replacement president," Olson said.
University System chancellor Mark Hagerott told the Committee, with Kennedy’s departure, and the imminent hiring of his replacement at UND, as well as the hiring of a new president at Bismarck State College, reworking the contract is timely.
"There is a cost for jumping ship," Hagerott said.
The committee’s chairman – Dan Traynor – said this is a “work in progress.” And he said he’s heard some concerns from the college presidents.
"There seems to be a lot of sticks, and not a lot of carrots," Traynor said.
Traynor suggested there be two different contract forms – one for new hires, and one for renewals. Olson said he would prepare those for the committee’s next meeting.