The Oregon State University Board of Trustees announced the candidates for the university’s next president at a meeting on Friday — the latest step in a search process the university has made more open than during efforts previous recruitments.
The presidential finalists — Jayathi Murthy and Charles Martinez — are both deans of major universities outside of Oregon.
They plan to visit OSU’s main Corvallis campus next week to participate in public forums with the university community.
Murthy has served as Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of California, Los Angeles since 2016. She is the first woman to hold this position. Murthy is also a professor in the Department of Mechanics and Aerospace at UCLA, according to his biography on the university’s website.
Prior to that, she was chair of the mechanical engineering department at the University of Texas at Austin. She has also worked at other top universities, including Purdue University and Arizona State University.
Martinez is the dean of the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. He began his tenure in the position in 2019. He is also a professor there in the department of educational psychology, according to the UT website.
Prior to his work in Texas, Martinez spent more than a decade in Oregon. He was a professor in the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy and Leadership at the University of Oregon. While at Eugene, Martinez served as founding director of the UO’s Center for Equity Promotion and the university’s vice president for institutional equity and diversity. He also served on the Eugene School Board and as a member of the Oregon State Board of Education.
“I think the campus is going to be thrilled to hear from them and hear about them – what their experiences are and what their visions are for the future of Oregon State,” the president said. of the OSU Board of Directors, Kirk Schueler, at Friday’s meeting.
The stress of a more open and transparent presidential search has been a key part of the process for both the Board of Trustees and the OSU campus community.
Former OSU President F. King Alexander was hired using a closed process in which applicants remained confidential and did not interact with the broader campus community. Alexander resigned after about nine months at OSU, amid criticism for mishandling sexual misconduct allegations at his former institution, Louisiana State University.
Many members of the campus community reported a loss of confidence in the OSU Board of Trustees at this time.
The council in turn engaged in an open search process this time around, to find Alexander’s permanent replacement. The ability for candidates to visit the campus in person is a key part of this.
The board interviewed six applicants and considered four semi-finalists before announcing Murthy and Martinez as the two finalists, according to the university.
According to a schedule shared at Friday’s board meeting, Martinez will travel to OSU on Monday and Murthy on Tuesday. Both candidates will take part in multiple lively conversations and will have the chance to make a presentation on campus. All of these events will be open to the public and streamed virtually.
OSU officials said the schedule will be made available on the presidential search site Friday afternoon.
Applicants are also subject to a thorough background check by an independent contractor, according to the university. OSU’s Office of Human Resources and the university’s recruiting firm, Isaacson, Miller, also review applicants’ backgrounds.
The OSU Board of Trustees expects to select the new president by June 7, according to the university.