KSU seeks presidential search committee

Rachel Abbey

The process of finding President Carol Cartwright’s successor is underway, and the chair of the presidential search committee should be named by next week.

The chair will most likely be a board member, said Charlene Reed, secretary to the Board of Trustees and senior assistant to the president.

University policy dictates the composition of a search committee for a president, calling for members of the board, faculty and administration, as well as students and alumni, to represent the needs of Kent State.

“It’s really our intent to make the composition as close to the policy as possible,” said R. Douglas Cowan, Board of Trustees chairman.

According to the policy, the 11-member committee should include:

ƒ-S Two board members selected by the Board of Trustees.

ƒ-S Four faculty members, including the chair of the Faculty Senate, a regional campus faculty member and two others.

ƒ-S Two administrators, including one academic dean, chosen by the president’s cabinet.

ƒ-S Two student representatives, one from the Undergraduate Student Senate and one from the Graduate Student Senate.

ƒ-S The president of the alumni association.

Cowan said he hopes the committee will be chosen by late October or early November.

An outside search firm will recruit candidates in December and January, Reed said.

Cowan said the committee should select finalists by April or May, giving about three or four months for resume reviewing.

“Whoever serves on this committee has to have some flexibility in their schedule,” Reed said.

The committee has to form an advertising campaign and develop recruitment strategies, Reed said. Once resumes start coming in, they will then have to meet to screen the candidates, doing reference checks and planning on-campus interviews.

If potential committee members don’t have the time to devote to the search process, another representative can be chosen, Cowan said.

The policy also leaves room for the university to appoint additional members to the committee, Reed said. Once the committee is chosen, the board will examine it for diversity in areas such as gender, race, area of academic study and regional campus representation. If necessary, additional members can be added.

There are 11 members for sure, but Cowan said he would not be surprised to see a committee of 13 or 14. For example, because the city and the university are so connected, Cowan said, it might be beneficial to have representatives from the city on the committee.

However, if the group grows too large, Reed said, it would be hard to manage.

“Obviously, every group cannot be represented on the search committee, or there would be 100 members. The members of the search committee have to take a broad perspective, not represent an interest group, to decide what’s best for the university as a whole,” she said.

The committee is not the only way for the university community to get involved with the search process, Reed said. The board will be seeking input from community members, including students, about what they should be looking for in a candidate.

The trustees will then write a leadership statement based on Kent State’s wants and needs. The committee will use this statement as a guideline for recruiting and choosing candidates.

The outside search firm will also follow these guidelines when seeking candidates. This is not a typical job search, where the employer puts out an advertisement and waits for responses, Reed said. It is the job of the search committee to make Kent State appealing to the best candidates.

“We have to sell ourselves,” she said.

The board has already begun looking at possible search firms, Reed said. There are less than a dozen firms with a strong focus on higher education institutions. The university works with the consultant in a partnership, rather than turning the search over to the outside firm.

“We have an active role to play,” she said. “They’re really helping us with the process.”

The committee will try to keep the community updated on progress, while respecting the confidentiality of the candidates, Reed said. If names are released, the candidates could jeopardize their current jobs.

However, communication and feedback is important, so the search committee will have a Web site linked to Kent State’s site for updates and important information, Reed said.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].