Parker Executive Search In Hunt for University Chancellor

September 21, 2016 – Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search has been retained by the University of Tennessee Knoxville to lead its search for a new chancellor.

Current chancellor Jimmy Cheek has recently announced he is stepping down and returning to teaching. The school hopes to have a new leader in place by the spring 2017 semester.

Parker president Laurie C. Wilder and vice president Porsha L. Williams are leading the assignment.

“We will scour the United States of America and beyond for the very finest candidates,” said Joe DiPietro, president of the University of Tennessee System. “I hope that every candidate that we talk to says, ‘I can’t wait for them to offer me this job.’”


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The chancellor is effectively the chief executive officer for the campus, a land-grant Carnegie university with ‘highest research activity.’ Reporting to the president of the UT System, this position is fully responsible for the leadership and management of the campus, including its athletics program. The incoming chancellor will promote continued development of the campus’ academic programs, research productivity, and national reputation of excellence.

A Leader Who Has It All 

According to the recruiters, the new chancellor will provide visionary leadership and strategic oversight on initiatives to enhance the standing of the university, in areas including instruction and learning, resource enhancement and accountability, shared governance, and enhancement of campus diversity and inclusion.

It is required that the new leader possess an earned terminal degree and evidence of scholarly, professional, or creative achievement commensurate with tenure as a full professor at a doctoral ‘highest research activity’ university. He or she will have demonstrated contemporary experience leading a complex and comprehensive university and have maintained a personal history of teaching, research and outreach commensurate with faculty status at a major research university. The incoming chancellor will also have an understanding of UT Knoxville’s mission as a public, research, land-grant university.

Since 1897, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville has been continuously accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The university has 27,845 students, over 1,700 instructional faculty, 11 academic colleges and over 300 degree programs.

Parker Executive Search conducts executive searches for corporations, colleges & universities, and collegiate athletics. Its sports practice represents clients conducting searches for positions ranging from president/CEO, EVP/SVP/general manager, executive director, conference commissioner, athletic director, head coach, and assistant coach, among others.

Chancellors In High Demand

Currently, the firm is leading president / chancellor searches for Valdosta State University, University of South Carolina Upstate, Texas A&M International University, and the University of Central Arkansas.

The hunt for university leadership is heating up — especially the search for chancellors.

Isaacson, Miller has just taken on the chancellor search for The University of California, Davis. Past chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi resigned amid allegations that she used university money to eliminate negative online search results about the institution.

Executive search firm Greenwood / Asher & Associates just placed Robert Jones as chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). With more than 30 years of experience in public higher education, Mr. Jones is currently president of the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY).

“It is no wonder that universities and institutions of higher learning are turning to executive search firms in droves to fill their top roles,” said Diversified Search CEO Dale Jones. At a time with many academic leaders are retiring or leaving their posts to pursue other interests, he said, competition to replace them is intense.

“Recruiters have the requisite skills to manage a process that at times can be unwieldy, but more importantly they can help to expand a university’s reach and use their well-honed assessment skills to find the very best leaders in and out of higher education,” said Mr. Jones.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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