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A UND professor says she may circulate a petition protesting the appointment of Larry Isaak as a chancellor of the North Dakota University System.

Other faculty members also express doubt about Isaak's qualifications to become the state's top academic officer. He holds a bachelor's degree in business from UND but lacks an advanced degree and on-campus teaching experience.

Lynn Lindholm, who chairs the philosophy and religion department, says she is considering a petition campaign to ask for the appointment of Robert Boyd, dean of outreach programs at UND, or Sandra Featherman, vice chancellor for academic administration at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Boyd and Featherman were the other two finalists for the chancellorship recommended by a committee that conducted a national search. The panel also recommended Bruce Bergland, a vice chancellor at the University of Colorado at Denver. All three had doctorates.

The Board of Higher Education picked Bergland to replace Douglas Treadway, but Bergland later declined the job, citing personal reasons.

Lindholm objected to Isaak's new salary, and the abandonment of the search process that included input from faculty members. The board picked Isaak on Tuesday with little public discussion, other than explanations of why they made the choice.

"I think it really is outrageous that he was handed this position and this salary, with no competition, no application and no appeal of this from people who have to live with his activities." she said.

"They had that salary set at $120,000 to get a nationally competitive academic leader. There is no way on Earth you can describe Larry Isaak as that person."

Upon his selection, the board gave Isaak a raise from $87,000 to $120,000. The board also confirmed Gene Kemper's position as vice chancellor for academic affairs, giving him a raise from $94,760 to $101,000. Both hold contracts through June, 1996.

Rob Kweit, chairman of UND's political science department, said Isaak's selection make sense administratively, because he knows the system and has developed established relationships.

"From an academic standpoint, I think it's unfortunate that the leader of the system doesn't have more experience and an academic reputation... that would make the Legislature and the governor take notice of the academic needs of the system." Academic experience also helps one understand what the faculty in the trenches face, Kweit added.

John Williams, chairman of the anthropology department, said the typical campus quiet of summer has prevented him from extensive discussion among faculty members.

"I'm guess I'm disappointed that they went through all the trouble of searching and that they did it so quickly," said Williams, vice president of the UND Faculty Senate. "But again, this is a two-year position."

Kay Fulp, the faculty representative on the higher education board, also pointed to the two-year term, saying it fit the time-frame for another national chancellor search. Faculty will turn Kemper for leadership on academic issues, said Fulp, an associate professor of mathematics at the State School of Science in Wahpeton.

Reference: Grand Forks Herald, July 17, 1994