West Plains, Mo. — The Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) announced today that it will begin a search process for hiring the successor to Commissioner of Higher Education Robert B. Stein, who will retire in 2010.

The bi-partisan CBHE, made up of one representative from each of Missouri's nine congressional districts, coordinates the state's system of higher education through the 76 state and federally funded employees of the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE).

Stein has more than 40 years experience in higher education, working in faculty and administrative positions on university campuses for almost 20 years before coming to Missouri. He held various academic positions with the MDHE from 1987 to December 2006, when he became commissioner.

CBHE Chair Kathryn Swan said that hallmarks of Stein's tenure with the department are his vision for performance excellence, his passion for teaching and learning, his dedication as a public servant, and his inclusiveness when working with diverse groups on statewide initiatives.

"Commissioner Stein genuinely solicits input from all affected parties," said Swan. "He listens well, assimilates diverse viewpoints, and seeks common ground to move the state forward in ways that will benefit all Missouri citizens. As a result of his leadership, the Coordinating Board and the department have become a more effective resource for the Governor's office, the General Assembly, other policymakers, college and university personnel, and the Missouri public."
As Commissioner, Stein has directly confronted the complex needs of Missouri's system of higher education, including

  • Robust strategic planning,
  • A compelling model for higher education funding,
  • Increased collaboration among stakeholders,
  • Development of curriculum competencies and assessment policies,
  • Better utilization of data systems for public reporting, and
  • More integration of agendas across state agencies.

Stein announced his retirement a year in advance to give the CBHE time for succession planning.

Missouri has benefited greatly from Stein's academic expertise in interaction dynamics, as well as his faculty and administrative experience, according to Swan. "Robert Stein has the respect of policymakers throughout the state for his decisions that are fair, objective and forward-thinking," Swan said.