Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas appears to be casting a wide net in his search for another job.
Thomas was expected this week to visit the Massachusetts-Boston campus in pursuit of its open chancellor’s position. He and two other finalists are to meet with members of the campus community.
They are to relay feedback to UMass President Marty Meehan, who is to select one candidate to recommend to the board of trustees.
The other UMass-Boston candidates are administrators at the University of Pittsburgh and Georgia State University. It’s unclear when a final decision will be made.
Thomas, who has been WIU president for about seven years, wasn’t selected for two other higher-education offices he had been seeking.
He was one of two finalists for Tuskegee University president. But last week, the Alabama college’s board selected Lily McNair, an administrator at Wagner College in New York.
Last month, Thomas traveled to Idaho to participate in forums intended to select the next president of Boise State University. But a Boise State announcement last week revealed Thomas withdrew his name from consideration.
During a faculty forum in Boise, Thomas was asked about unrest at Macomb-based WIU, according to Tri-States Public Radio. Those were apparent references to Illinois state budget problems and labor negotiations with faculty, which had been ongoing for more than a year.
Thomas told the Boise State forum WIU had to spend reserves, cut positions and reduce salaries, among other things. He also said an agreement was near between the university and the union, whose members had approved a no-confidence vote in WIU administration.
A tentative agreement was reached earlier this week. The union represents about 500 faculty members at the Macomb campus and about 50 at the WIU satellite in Moline.