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Nietzel: No Definite Plans, No Job Offers From Other Schools

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Missouri State University president Dr. Michael Nietzel told reporters Tuesday that he doesn’t know what he will do after he leaves his post, but that his plans don't include becoming the president of another university. Nietzel announced publicly on Monday that he is leaving his post for a combination of professional and private reasons. KSMU’s Jennifer Moore was at Tuesday’s press conference and has this report.

Nietzel entered the press conference to greet nearly 20 members of the media in the same building where the university’s eight past presidents have worked for over a hundred years.

He gave few additional details of his decision to resign, but said the public demands of being a university president weighed heavily on his decision.

“It wasn’t anything specific, but it was a matter of reflecting on how much longer would I be prepared to do the job the way I’ve done it, and devote the time, and particularly be involved in all of the public aspects of the job the way that you have to be. And it was hard for me to see it going more than a year,” he said.

Nietzel officially told MSU’s Board of Governors of his decision last Friday during its closed meeting, and announced Monday to the university and public that he would be leaving his post by the end of 2010, at the latest.

The university has faced significant budget restrictions due to state funding over the past year. Nietzel said, however, the school’s budget had nothing to do with his decision to leave.

“If you made decisions based on difficult budgets in the state of Missouri for higher education, you’d be a day on the job. We’ve always had that, and I will have that this year, as we go into 2011. There will be some real difficult decisions. So, no, that’s part of the job,” he said.

As for his future plans, Nietzel says he is undecided on what he will do next. He added that he is considering staying on as a tenured faculty member in the psychology department at MSU, and said that no other university has offered him a job.

Brian Hammons of Stockton is the chair of MSU’s Board of Governors. Hammons said Nietzel’s decision came as a surprise to him, and that the board will look forward to his continued leadership over the next several months as it begins its search for his replacement.

“We’ll be putting together a committee. We’ll announce the search committee no later than our December meeting, and they’ll begin their work shortly after that, I’m sure,” Hammons said.

Hammons said that the search committee and the Board of Governors will soon be putting together a list of priorities of the particular qualities and strengths it will be looking for in a new president.

Hammons said the board intends to name the new president by mid- to late-2010.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore.