Steve Owens is the University of Missouri system’s go-to, fill-in leadership guy.
First he was interim president of the system. Now the university system’s general counsel has been named interim boss of the Columbia campus.
UM system president Tim Wolfe announced the appointment of Owens as interim chancellor for MU. Owens will run the university with deputy chancellor Mike Middleton until a long-term chancellor is hired. Neither Owens nor Middleton is a candidate to fill the job in the long term.
The Owens/Middleton transition team has been approved by the University of Missouri board of curators. The two take control the evening of Nov. 15, when current chancellor Brady Deaton officially steps down. Deaton will remain at the university as the executive director of the Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development. The institute will look for alternative ways to influence international food safety and water quality.
Curators said having a transition team in place gives the 18-member chancellor search committee and the system president time to find the chancellor who best fits the University of Missouri.
“Our search for a new chancellor at MU remains on schedule,” Wolfe said in a statement. “In the meantime, it is imperative that the daily operations of the university continue to run smoothly.”
Owens had been interim system president for a year between the time that Gary Forsee left and Wolfe was hired.
In that time — January 2011 to February 2012 — Owens worked closely with Deaton to move Mizzou from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference. He also launched a search that led to the hiring of Cheryl Schrader as the first female chancellor at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.
Owens became general counsel to the system in 2008. While Owens is temporarily in the chancellor’s office, Phil Hoskins will serve as acting general counsel for the system.