Martin Schimpf named interim president of Boise State

The State Board of Education voted unanimously Friday to appoint veteran faculty member and administrator Martin Schimpf as interim president of Boise State University.

Martin Schimpf

Schimpf will take over as interim president July 1, and help bridge the gap between when outgoing President Bob Kustra retires this month and a new and permanent successor can be named.

Serving on the faculty since 1990, Schimpf is currently Boise State’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. The State Board set his new salary as interim president at $390,860.

The State Board hired the firm AGB Search to conduct a nationwide search for Kustra’s successor. However, on May 17, the State Board voted to start its search over and appoint an interim president, rather than hire one of the three finalists.

State Board of Education President Linda Clark said the Board was already very familiar with Schimpf, and reached out to him about taking over as interim president.

“The continuity he will provide is really the largest and single most important factor,” Clark told reporters. “Serving as provost as he has, he’s well acquainted with the university and its staff, and he can provide that continuity we need over this next year while we search for a new president.”

So far, the state has spent $101,484 on the unsuccessful search for a permanent successor to Kustra, a State Board spokesman said this week. That total includes AGB’s search fee and expenses, as well as costs for travel, lodging and public forums.

Clark anticipates the new Boise State search will begin in the fall, and she hopes to name the next president in the spring of 2019. Using that timeline as a basis, Clark said Schimpf would serve as interim president through the 2018-19 school year.

The Boise State presidential search isn’t the only high profile search on the horizon. A week ago, the State Board announced it entered into a mutual agreement with University of Idaho President Chuck Staben to make the 2018-19 school year Staben’s last at University of Idaho — necessitating another presidential search that is likely to play out at the same time as the Boise State search.

The State Board also worked with AGB Search to successfully hire presidents of Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College in April.

Clark said she was satisfied with the process used in the first Boise State president’s search, noting that five sitting presidents applied. However, she said, “the outcome is not what we wanted.”

“We just didn’t find the right match for Boise State, really the prefect match to lead the institution forward,” Clark said.

Schimpf had previously announced plans to retire from his job as provost as part of a plan to return to work as a professor in the chemistry department. In accepting the interim president’s position, Schimpf agreed to postpone those plans by one year, Clark said.

Since becoming provost in 2010, Schimpf helped launch a series of new Ph.D. programs and built up the state’s largest graduate school. In 2016, Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education classified Boise State as a doctoral research institution as a result of those efforts, according to a university bio.

Clark said the State Board had a short window of time in which to name an interim president, but she is confident Schimpf has the experience, leadership qualities and trust of the campus and community to lead in the interim.

“Boise State is on the move, and we want to make sure we don’t do anything to stop that momentum,” she said.

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