CSU System Board Names Joe Blake Finalist for Chancellor Post

The Colorado State University System Board of Governors today accepted the recommendation report by the 15-member chancellor search committee that was charged with identifying qualified candidates to lead the three-campus, 30,000-student CSU system. Also today, the board, including students and faculty board representatives, interviewed the two candidates brought forward by the committee and publicly voted to name Joe Blake as the finalist for the CSU System position.

Members of the search committee who represent a diverse and significant group of community leaders worked for the last several months to select candidates that met the position description created from input from stakeholders and approved by the board.  Yesterday the committee met to interview candidates. The committee unanimously supported the forwarding of two candidates to the board for its consideration.

The search committee reviewed over 30 applications, which after several meetings and deliberation, the committee narrowed the candidate pool down to a dozen applicants that met the minimum requirements for the position. The committee pared down the pool to several extremely qualified applicants for the position. The candidates were interviewed separately by the committee yesterday. After the interview process, the committee selected two candidates to recommend to the board for consideration.

"Each member of our board knows the importance and impact a strong leader can have in directing a premier academic and research university," said Douglas Jones, chair of the CSU System board of governors. "Today marks an opportunity to redefine the leadership of a university system of CSU’s caliber. The CSU System will be well served by the leadership skills and passion of Joe Blake. I have confidence he will be a great partner with the presidents of each campus."

"This is an exciting and meaningful opportunity, and I am thrilled to partner with the outstanding leaders at each campus of the Colorado State University System to help enhance the quality of this outstanding system. There is an impressive team on the campuses and by working together we can create an even more successful and brighter future for students, faculty and staff, as well as for the citizens of Colorado," Blake said. "As the first sole chancellor for the CSU System, I am honored to serve this great university."

"The board appreciates and is grateful for the thoughtful, professional and diligent work conducted by the search committee," Jones said.

"The search committee took the necessary time to search for a leader who will embrace the incredible future of this outstanding university system and work diligently to promote CSU’s widespread contributions to the state of Colorado, nation and the world," said Marguerite Salazar, one of the three co-chairs of the search committee and board member.

The nearly six-month process started back in December when the board consulted with a national expert in higher education systems to evaluate various national organizational models of university systems.

At its December 2008 public meeting, the board decided it was in the campuses best interests to separate the conjoined position of CSU System chancellor and CSU Fort Collins president. In January and February of this year, the board held a series of public CSU stakeholder meetings to solicit input about expectations and desired attributes in a chancellor.

"As a public agency, the board believed it was our responsibility to have an open, thoughtful, thorough and inclusive process to reach out to as many CSU stakeholders as possible for input before launching a search," Jones said.

The chancellor will be a major resource gatherer for the campuses. Being based in Denver, the chancellor will be the face and voice of the CSU System who can meet with Colorado’s executive branch, legislators, business and civic leaders, alumni and donors on a regular basis. Denver, alone, has nearly 70,000 students who attended CSU, with more than 100,000 around the state.

With dwindling state budget support, the chancellor will have an increasingly important role to look out for the financial needs of all the campuses as well as be a strong advocate for higher education in the state.

An official offer of hire cannot happen until after a 14-day public notice period as stipulated in state statute.