WARRENSBURG | Aaron Podolefsky is out as University of Central Missouri’s president effective June 30.
The UCM Board of Governors plans to launch a search for his replacement.
Podolefsky on Tuesday called his job prospects “excellent.” Three colleges in less than a year have named him a finalist in their searches for presidents.
The board’s decision came less than a month after a petition from about half of the tenured faculty supported renewing the contract in 2010.
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One of those who signed the petition, Jim Staab, said all objective measures supported renewing Podolefsky’s contract.
“Obviously, we’re very disappointed in the decision by the Board of Governors. We’re not certain what the reasons would be for not renewing the president’s contact,” he said.
Last year, 72 percent of the Faculty Senate signed a letter in support of Podolefsky and this year 52 percent of tenured faculty signed a petition asking the board to retain Podolefsky.
The petition raised concern from some faculty members who wanted to make clear the Faculty Senate did not take a position on Podolefsky staying or going.
Some who signed the petition cited reasons including Podolefsky’s knowledge of the state system at a time when funding cuts could hurt the institution, and the university’s academic progress.
“We are searching for the reasons why the board would not renew the president’s contract,” Stabb said.
The board offered no reason for deciding to replace Podolefsky.
“We appreciate the contributions President Podolefsky has made in leading the university through a name change, the current construction projects and successful efforts to improve the academic profile of the university,” UCM board President Richard Phillips said in a prepared statement. “We anticipate a smooth transition as we work through this process.”
College boards have the right to oversee personnel, but how they do so must follow state law. The UCM Board of Governors voted in a closed meeting Oct. 2 against renewing Podolefsky’s contract, but did not make the news public for a week, raising a Missouri Sunshine Law question.
Under the law, Section 610.021(3), a government body can vote on personnel matters in a closed meeting, but vote results must be made public within 72 hours along with how each member voted.
Podolefsky, in a prepared statement, said, “Please know that I am extremely proud of UCM’s faculty, staff and students, and the progress we’ve made during my tenure here. It has been a highly successful time by any measure of institutional success. I remain dedicated to our university and look forward to the remaining time we have together in furthering the progress of our outstanding institution.”