Gov. Cox’s picks to oversee Utah higher education to be vetted by Senate committee Monday

The committee will take public comment during the meeting.

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

Utah business and community leaders nominated to govern higher education have homework — with their public presentations to a Senate committee scheduled Monday.

Gov. Spencer Cox last week announced his 10 nominees for the Utah Board of Higher Education, a group tasked with setting strategy for the state’s public universities and technical colleges. The appointments require Senate approval.

The first step in that process will take place at 9 a.m Monday, when members of the Senate Education Confirmation Committee will hear from nine nominees. Cox’s appointment of student member Holly Talbot doesn’t require Senate confirmation.

The public will have a chance to share their thoughts prior to the committee’s vote Monday, but must attend the meeting either in person or virtually to do so, according to Cox’s office, since there is no formal process in place to collect feedback in advance. The hearing will be held in room 445 at the Capitol Building.

Committee members will then vote whether to confirm the nominees. In the days following, the full Senate will vote on the appointments, though a date for that has not yet been set.

In addition to Talbot, Cox nominated the following Utahns to serve as 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]

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

After an audit criticized the current board last year for not effectively overseeing the state’s higher education system, lawmakers approved a bill, SB146, overhauling the board for the second time within the past three years.

Under the new bill, the board is shrinking from 18 members to 10. None of the members of the existing board were nominated to the new board by Cox.

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