UNLV’s acting President Marta Meana will not apply to stay in the role permanently, she said in a message to faculty, staff and students Monday morning.
“Serving as your acting president for almost two years now has been the honor of a lifetime, but my plans do not align with UNLV’s need for a president who can make a commitment for an extended period of time,” Meana said.
The announcement comes shortly after the Friday deadline for applications for the president role, which Meana has held in a temporary capacity since June 2018.
A 29-member search committee emphasized in a meeting in September that longevity was a top priority for the university in seeking its next president, though executive search firm Wheless Partners warned search committee members that university presidents stayed on the job for only three years on average.
UNLV has had six presidents in 13 years, with faculty members citing a feeling of whiplash after the many changes in leadership.
In her announcement, Meana encouraged campus community members to take an active role in the search process. The first public announcement of candidates will take place in the final stage in late March, when finalists will visit the campus for interviews.
Two internal candidates have already stepped forward: Daniel Hamilton, dean of the UNLV School of Law, and interim Executive Vice President and Provost Chris Heavey.
Hamilton, now in his seventh year with UNLV, said he’d consider the president role a long-term commitment. He added that the Boyd School of Law is one example of the university seeing success, including rising in the rankings and fundraising to establish scholarships like the Reid-Lionel Scholarship, a $1 million gift announced last week.
“The university has a terrific opportunity to build on past leadership and to continue to rise,” Hamilton said, referencing recent recognition the university has earned for research and community engagement. “The community needs UNLV and UNLV needs the community.”
Heavey confirmed he was a candidate for the position but declined to comment while the search process is ongoing.