UNI Presidential finalist Theobald shares vision for University - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI Presidential finalist Theobald shares vision for University

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(KWWL) -

The University of Northern Iowa has narrowed it's search for the next President to three finalists. The first of three finalists, Neil Theobald, spoke with students, faculty, and staff at a public forum on Tuesday, explaining his experience and recent resignation. 

Theobald, who comes from a background of higher education, shared his vision for UNI. 

"I love it that UNI's history is so tied to teaching, which is where I started and continued to teach each year," said Theobald. 

Theobald outlined his vision for the University, explaining his core principles. Emphasizing a creative and intellectually rigorous faculty as a University's most important resource. Noting shared governance as "essential" to a University's success. Explaining that resource challenges are daunting but ensuring that they can be solved. Recruiting and retaining a diverse and talented student body, and then focusing on student success, as they key to the future of any University. His last principle explaining that all University planning must start with mission first. 

"You look at race, you look at educational attainment, there is wide disparity in terms of higher education," said Theobald.

He called on a need for recruiting a diverse student body, restructuring admission practices and revisiting how standardized test scores are used. A vision UNI Senior Cameron Fagen agrees with. 

"It's just that everybody needs an equal opportunity to succeed and education is the way that they can do that,' said Fagen.

Among his core principles, Theobald emphasized shared governance as essential to a University's success. Theobald used his belief in shared governance to explain his resignation as President from Temple University this past summer. 

"This summer I was directed to hire an individual to an open Dean search without faculty input," said Theobald. "I consulted with the Provost who was strongly opposed to the appointment. I chose not to break the covenant of shared governance, which as I mentioned earlier, I have found to be essential in operating a University."

KWWL obtained a copy of the letter that was sent out to the Temple University community by the Board of Trustees which provided a different explanation for Theobald's resignation. 

"The Board’s decision is based in part on the events that led to the removal of Hai-Lung Dai as University Provost on June 28, 2016. Specifically, the Board concludes that the issues arising from the discovery of a $22 million deficit in the University’s financial aid budget ultimately were the responsibility of President Theobald, and that he must be held accountable. After providing an opportunity for President Theobald to resign his position, which he refused, the Board concluded that it is compelled to proceed with Dr. Theobald’s removal as President."

The second finalist, UNI's Interim President James Wohlpart, will be speaking with students and faculty during a public forum Wednesday afternoon. 

The Board of Regents has one last finalist to reveal. They expect to select a final candidate in December. 

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