Gov. Cox’s selection to oversee higher education in Utah will be reviewed by the Senate committee on Monday

The Committee will accept public comments during the session.

(Tribune Illustration) Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has nominated 10 new members for the Utah Board of Higher Education. The nominees include (from left) Aaron Skonnard, Cydni Tetro, Sharon Eubank, Jon Cox and Tina Larson. Nominations are subject to approval by the Utah Senate.

Utah business and community leaders nominated to lead higher education have their homework to do — their public presentations to a Senate committee are scheduled for Monday.

Gov. Spencer Cox last week announced his ten nominations for the Utah Board of Higher Education, a group tasked with setting strategy for the state’s public universities and colleges. The appointments require the approval of the Senate.

The first step in that process will take place at 9 a.m. Monday, when members of the Senate Education Approval Committee will hear nine candidates. Cox’s appointment of student member Holly Talbot does not require Senate confirmation.

The public will have an opportunity to offer their thoughts ahead of Monday’s committee vote, but must attend the meeting either in person or virtually, according to Cox’s office, as there is no formal process for gathering feedback beforehand. The hearing will be held in Room 445 of the Capitol building.

The committee members then vote on whether to confirm the nominees. The full Senate will vote on the appointments in the coming days, but a date has yet to be set.

In addition to Talbot, Cox nominated the following Utahns for new board members: Javier Chavez Jr., Amanda Covington, Jon Cox, Sharon Eubank, Danny Ipson, Tina Larson, Steve Neeleman, Aaron Skonnard and Cydni Tetro.

[Read more about them: Gov. Cox wants these 10 Utahns to strategize the future of higher education in Utah]

The members confirmed by the Senate will take office on July 1st. Since the law requires six-year staggered terms, Cox will decide which new members will be assigned initial terms of two, four, or six years.

After the current board was criticized in an audit last year for not effectively overseeing the state’s higher education system, lawmakers passed a bill, SB146, that overhauled the board for the second time in three years.

According to the new draft law, the board of directors will shrink from 18 to 10 members. None of the members of the existing board were nominated by Cox for the new board.

MP Karen Peterson, R-Clinton, one of SB146’s sponsors, said the smaller board is expected to be more effective.

Justin Scaccy

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