Comments about ‘Reactions mixed to Mark Shurtleff as U. president’

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Published: Tuesday, Nov. 8 2011 6:00 p.m. MST

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Ms Molli
Bountiful, Utah

Oh please give him the job, even if just long enough for him to step down as the State AG.


If it were left to Howard Stephenson, U of Utah would be replaced with a super-campus of University of Phoenix.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The main objections to Shurtleff seem to be "we always pick academics" or sheer elitism and arrogance.

This is a time when higher ed has done only one thing well- increasing costs many times the rate of inflation for decades, and turning out fewer graduates actually prepared for worthwhile professional careers. If you want to keep on that patch to irrelevance, go ahead and get another academic type.

Every member of the search committee should be required to read the excellent Deseret News series on BYU-Idaho's innovative approaches and willingness to change the way they have always done things.

There are plenty of career academics to coach Shurtleff on any actual academic issues, but they need a different vision, and asking different questions at the top.

Thomas Paine
South Jordan, UT

If the U of U wants any respect by their peers, then giving the job to Shurtleff is social suicide. He wouldn't even have the respect of the U's own professors and staff.

But then again the U could do worse.

Farmington, UT

Despite anyone's personal feelings, universities are a unique animal. The reputation of a university rests primarily on the collective reputation of its faculty. Most academics are not going to come to or stay at an institution where the president has no background in academia (other than as a student), and will be hard-pressed to come up to speed quickly on the issues surrounding research and university-level instruction. If Mark Shurtleff or his staff had done any research into the requirements for the position, he would have spared himself the embarrassment of applying, then not getting selected.

As much as I'd like to see Mark Shurtleff replaced as AG, this application will quickly find its way to the circular file.


If Howard Stephenson had his way we'd have a business man running the state's colleges, would he prefer to have academics running businesses? Everyone wants business people running things these days, but how often have you heard of our universities going bankrupt? Academic should be running universities; with respect most business people haven't got a clue about education......

Salt Lake City, UT

As a U alum and a former Shurtleff co-worker I can't imagine that a man who so easily bows to the whims of the legislature would stand up for the interests of the U. It's not about whether Shurtleff is a Conservative or a Liberal. It's about the ability to be independent in the face of political pressure. I recommend others do what I'm doing - contacting people known to have influence in the selection process and telling them we'll stop our contributions to the U if Shurtleff is chosen as president.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

The reality is that Shurtleff is not being considered seriously at all.

The U being the flagship institution with its top-ranked medical school, its recently surpassing MIT in spinning off new business ventures from faculty research, and world-class research and educational program rankings, the Utah Board of Trustees isn't going to risk all that with an "unknown" non-academic, local politician.

What's needed is someone who has risen through the ranks of academic leadership positions at other top-ranked universities (say, deans, provosts, and academic vice presidents) who not only can demonstrate academic abilities to pull grants and publish relevant research in top journals, but also can attract funding and have excellent public relations skills to address a generally hostile legislature, but supportive alumni and business community.

Any local political figure for the position is too risky as it may turn off donors and alums with opposing political views.

Shurtleff will not have credibility with faculty who have pulled research grants, published in top journals, or patented new technology. His appointees would be questioned, and faculty would resent being evaluated by someone who has never achieved the professional demands necessary to hold a real academic position.

Provo, UT

This just shows how out of touch Shurtleff is: out of touch with Higher Education; out of touch with voters; out of touch with his own distorted sense of his own abilities and qualifications.

Pleasant Grove, UT

I am also a U of U alum. I also used to work with Shurtleff. Without even knowing the other candidates, I can guarantee he is wholly unqualified compared to other candidates in the mix. Would you get Kyle Whittingham to coach the Utah Jazz? Would you get Jerry Sloan to coach the U of U football team. In other words - Shurtleff wouldn't have the first clue what to do or where to start. Let alone, the concerns that he is and has ever been nothing more than a party "yes man".

jim l
West Jordan, UT

please get him a job.

salt lake city, utah

Baron, is right, this is just so much smoke in the wind. No one is ever going to consider him for this job, but it speaks volumes that he would consider himself for the job. I would "suspect" that his arrogance comes from the attittude displayed by Stephenson and others on this thread that the university should be a place where students go to get job skills. That vision of a university is appalling. To describe degrees in art, philosophy, music,etc. (my list of degrees that probably don't lead to "jobs"), confirms what I've all ways suspected, the leadreship of Utah has no souls.

David Brooks, who I respect as a thinker, but rarely agree with as a columnist wrote a book last year where he pleaded for Americia to not cut liberal arts programs in schools in a frenzy to cut spending. His point was that such programs develop the soul, and heaven knows we need citizens with souls now.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Shurtleff would not be able to handle the job as president of the U. He will not be selected. He is not doing a very good job as the attorney general and there is a good chance he will not be re-elected there as well. He knows this, he is just looking for a job. Perhaps Energy Solutions has a place for him.

Ogden, UT

This would be great news for illegals. In State Tuition would end. Tuition would become free and would be for all illegals in state and out.

Salem, UT

Just look at the last few individuals picked by the Board in Utah as Univ. Pres.- the U. is in trouble on this one- get ready for an interesting pick and one that will damage the image of HE in Utah even further

South Jordan, Utah

Mr. Shurtleff is not qualified period. His interst does demonstrate at out of control ego and flames the republican dislike for higher public education and the well educated. I hate to see the threat of the U. being controled by Shurtleff and his political cronies.

my 2 cents worth
West Jordan, UT

The fact that Stephenson endorses him is enough to tell me his appointment would be disastrous. Even if his lack of background or experience didn't say that already.

Sandy, UT

I would think that they'd at least TRY to get someone with some integrity, some character, some predictability, and some awareness of what is needed in society.

gramma b
Orem, UT

He's a nice guy, but I'd bet my mortgage that his academic record would not qualify him to be a professor, let alone president of a university. It's amazing that he even considers himself qualified for this job. Some people don't know how much they don't know.

Salt Lake City, UT

Many people made light of Mr. Shurtleff before he became the state's attorney general, but he has lasted long in that position.

He's a cancer survivor.

Don't discount his ability to achieve his goals.

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