Caret finalist in second interview round for UMass presidency
(UPDATED Jan. 5, 2:17 p.m.) Towson President Robert Caret has made it to the second round of candidates to take over the presidency at the University of Massachusetts, according to the Boston Globe.
The UMass search committee plans to interview fewer than six candidates on Jan. 13.
Caret, along with several other university system presidents, chancellors and prominent figures, was publicly announced a candidate for the position around Dec. 5. He has not officially stated that he hopes to leave Towson to be their next president.
Towson University provost Marcia Welsh told The Towerlight that she and Caret have discussed the possibility of him leaving Towson for UMass “in light of recent media coverage.”
“In higher education, there is always the possibility that people will come, and people will go, but if you have built a strong team, and have put systems in place, institutions will continue moving forward in spite of transitions,” Welsh said.
On Dec. 6, Caret gave a statement to The Towerlight that did not discount the potential position. When contacted for a follow-up comment, Marina Cooper, assistant to the President for external relations and communications, referred back to the original statement given.
“After 16 years in two successful presidencies, I am contacted by institutions and firms inquiring about my interest in a search they are conducting. On occasion, I may have conversations with them; however, I am extremely pleased with the work we are doing and the successes we’ve achieved at Towson University.”
Other candidates include the outgoing chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Phillip Clay, and Meredith Hay, executive vice president and provost at the University of Arizona.
“Over the past nine months, we have conducted a search that has been fair, comprehensive and thorough. Our search has attracted top quality candidates and our candidate pool remains strong and diverse. Now, we are ready to move into the next stage of this process, a stage that I am confident will lead to the selection of outstanding finalist candidates,” search committee chairman James J. Karam said after the initial meetings on Dec. 16.
Caret has been the president of Towson University since 2002. He previously served as the president at San Jose State University.
In regards to Caret’s qualifications for the president position at UMass, Welsh said he meets the criteria.
“President Caret has served as president at two strong institutions for what believe is 8 years each. Given that fact, he has proven leadership skills and the requisite talents to be successful in managing a university system,” Welsh said.
The UMass Presidential Search Committee is scheduled to meet at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 13, according to a UMass press release published Jan. 4. The search committee was formed in March 2010 and was given the task of selecting finalist candidates to succeed UMass President Jack M. Wilson, who will step down on June 30.
If Caret were to be chosen for the position, it would mean an obvious transition or “presidential vacuum” in Towson’s administration, according to Welsh. A search committee would be established to locate and hire a new president to lead the University.
“President Caret has a strong team in place at Towson, along with a well-conceived strategic plan that we are all implementing, so in the short term we would see little change,” Welsh said.