The search for Eastern Illinois University's 11th president moved one step closer to completion Tuesday with the identification of nine semi-finalists.
These individuals are expected to begin meeting with the EIU Presidential Search Advisory Committee in off-campus interviews in less than a week's time.
"We think we have a slate of extremely well-qualified individuals who could certainly serve as president of Eastern Illinois University," said Robert Webb, vice chair of Eastern's Board of Trustees and chair of the search committee. "The committee is unanimous in that thought."
The search resulted in 58 applications, a pool which the committee narrowed to 16 in late January. Subsequently, two of those 16 withdrew from consideration.
Committee members further narrowed the pool Tuesday after sharing the results of reference checks made earlier this month.
Webb said he anticipates off-campus interviews will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 27 and 28, provided candidates are available.
"It's important we move forward," he said.
The search committee expects to narrow the field of nine semi-finalists to four finalists, who will then be asked to participate in on-campus visits the week of March 19.
The committee plans to present its recommendation(s) to the Board of Trustees, who, in turn, will have the ultimate responsibility of naming a new president. That decision likely will be made in April.
The need for a search began when Louis V. Hencken announced in August 2006 that he planned to retire this year. His current contract expires June 30, 2007; he advised trustees, however, that, if need be, he was willing to remain in office after that date and until a new president can assume the responsibility.
Hencken has been employed with the university for 41 years, the last six as president.