The University of Illinois has spent almost $6 million on search firms over the last nine years to fill open positions as it increasingly turns to outside firms instead of relying on faculty search committees to find candidates.
For example, The Champaign News-Gazette found that the university paid a search firm $190,000 when the law and business colleges needed new deans in 2008. The university then paid another firm $200,000 when the first search didn't turn up a suitable candidate before picking internal employees for the jobs.
U of I spokesman Tom Hardy says the university is a complex organization that needs to recruit the best talent. And Board of Trustees Chairman Christopher Kennedy says not using search firms would put the school at a "steep competitive disadvantage."