President search continues, dean search postponed 1

By Brad Barber

The school currently has two interim vice presidents and is searching for a new president. Becker Hall could see some personal changes in the next year, but at least one vice president will not be filled before next school year. (Photo by Shelly Bradbury)

The Board of Trustees began the search for the school’s next president through the formation of a president advisory task force and a search profile to identify the type of candidate the school is looking for. The lack of a president next year has put a temporary hold on finding a new senior vice president for academic affairs.

The board adopted a leadership transition policy in January 2008. The policy called for the creation of a president advisory task force by the Executive Committee of the board. The task force consists of Arthur Wilson, Beth Lahr, Del Doughty, Ph.D., Matthew Ruiz, Ph.D., Nancy Hull, Ph.D., Daniel Binkoski, Greg Smitley, Edward Vessels, Phillip Whipple, Gary Dilley, Ann McPherren, Ph.D., Herbert Schumm, Edward Souers, and Kelly Savage.

The 14-member task force exceeds the number of members prescribed in the leadership transition policy, which calls for a nine to 11-member team.

Savage, the Personnel Committee and Board of Trustees chair, said that the task force will be involved in representing the campus in the search and interview processes.

“The role of the task force is to solicit and organize input from constituent groups to build the position profile that will be used in recruiting HU’s next president,” she said. “Task force members will interview candidates and provide feedback to the board’s Personnel Committee. The Personnel Committee will then recommend a final candidate to the full Board of Trustees.”

Price Harding, of Carter-Baldwin Executive Search, a firm chosen by the board to assist in the hiring process, has been meeting with the task force to receive feedback on what type of candidate HU wants for the position, which culminated in the development of a search profile brochure now available online. The brochure contains the mission statement, philosophy of education, community life agreement and an overview of the university.

The brochure states that the next president must be a devout Christian, be able to understand the changes being made in higher education, devoted to maintaining HU’s commitment to academics and athletics, and be able to engage donors so HU can continue its mission. The next president “must lead the development of a long-term vision and implement strategies by which the mission is successfully carried forward in a dramatically changing academic environment.”

Savage said that Harding will sift through the applicants based on the profile and approximately 40 will move on to the interview phase in mid-January. She has pledged that there will be a high level of confidentiality.

“High-potential individuals in leadership positions will be reluctant to apply unless we assure them that their candidacy will be kept confidential,” she said.

The ongoing search process for the president has delayed the search process for the next senior vice president for academic affairs, which became vacant when Norrie Friesen, Ph.D., was asked to step down last December. Del Doughy, Ph.D., is currently the interim senior vice president of academic affairs. A search committee was formed for this position and a profile was created and presented to the board in October.

However, with the retirement announcement from G. Blair Dowden, Ed.D., the committee decided to hold off the process until the next president is confirmed.

Binkoski, also a member of the dean search committee, said that the president has the ultimate authority for the decision so they decided to wait.

“With President Dowden retiring, and that transition happening, it didn’t make sense to continue the dean search,” he said. “We want the new president to have input into that process and decision as he is the one who will be in charge of the administrative team.”

While the process was placed on hold, Doughty accepted the invitation from the search committee and Dowden to serve a second year as the interim senior vice president for academic affairs. Dowden did say that replacing the vice president for business and finance, which Tom Ayers vacated in July, may still happen while he is president, or interim Julie Hendryx may be asked to serve another year. Hendryx said that they are still in the process of deciding what to do about the position, but there is no news to share at this time.

One comment on “President search continues, dean search postponed

  1. Reply Kris Burgess Feb 1,2013 3:51 pm

    It’s very interesting indeed that President Dowden decided to step down before a new dean was found.

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