As UND inches closer to the announcement of its next president, interim President Joshua Wynne is encouraging community members to learn about the candidates and provide feedback to the university’s search committee.

The campus community had an opportunity to meet with three candidates, Robert Marley, Chuck Staben and David Rosowsky, last week. This week will see visits from three more candidates: Laurie Stenberg Nichols, Paul Tikalsky and Andrew Armacost. At the end of the week the UND search committee likely will narrow the field to three candidates who then will be interviewed by the State Board of Higher Education, the hiring party for the 11 public universities in North Dakota.

Following each session, people have had an opportunity to fill out a survey online about each candidate, but Wynne encourages members of the community both on campus, as well as off-campus to give feedback to the search committee. Email addresses for the search committee co-chairs can be found at https://und.edu/about/president/search/search-committee.html.

But it’s still unclear if Wynne himself would consider entering the fray. The Herald has asked Wynne multiple times throughout his interim presidency and in the past week if he would be interested in the position full-time.

Wynne maintains he wants the process to play out, but he also does not declare himself uninterested in the position. Friday, the Herald asked him for clarity. After Wynne responded, the Herald noted that he didn't answer with a "yes" or a "no" and then asked if he is willing to answer definitively.

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His answer: “Let me just say that Susan and I have been in this community for the last 15 years. UND is really important to me and us, and I have a strong commitment to UND and am trying to do the right thing for UND.”

Mutterings that Wynne should be the university’s next president have been making their way around the community for the past few weeks. When pressed by the Herald Friday, Wynne said he thinks UND needs to “have all of the candidates that are on the search committee's list have an unadulterated visit where they have the opportunity to really see the community and learn about the values and so forth.”

“That's really my focus now, to try to see it through. I'm flattered by what you have indicated and I'm trying to do the right thing and the best thing for UND,” he said. “I do trust the process.”

In order for Wynne to become the permanent president of UND he would have to first resign as interim president. However, Mark Hagerott, chancellor of the North Dakota University System, says that may not be the best move at this point for the campus. Hagerott said people have contacted him about making Wynne the full-time president, but as it currently stands the chancellor does not consider Wynne to be a candidate.

“It's kind of late for him to do that now. It would be very disruptive to UND to step down and throw his name in there,” Hagerott said. “I would hope he would put the institution first, keep taking care of the students, keep taking care of the institution.”