Academic Career & Executive Search Seeking CEO for Kansas State University

September 30, 2021 – Academic Career & Executive Search (ACES) has been called in by Kansas State University Olathe to lead its search for a new chief executive officer. Managing partner Jennifer Muller is spearheading the assignment. The university is seeking a dynamic individual with exceptional leadership, strategic and interpersonal capabilities. The CEO reports directly to the provost and executive vice president and serves as a member of the deans’ council and on the K-State Olathe board of directors.

The K-State Olathe CEO serves as an advisor to the president and provost in establishing both strategic directions and significant initiatives in research and education in the Kansas City region on behalf of Kansas State University. The CEO works closely with a variety of stakeholders to advance the role of K-State Olathe within the university with strong academic/industry/government partnerships integrating education, research, and engagement to address the needs of a rapidly changing world.

In addition, strong collaboration with senior administrators, deans and other academic leaders at the university and leaders in government, industry and academia in the Kansas City region is required. An appreciation of the strengths and diverse expertise of K-State Olathe faculty and staff and support of growing programs and current industry connections and engagement with Kansas City area community colleges will also be necessary for success, according to the search firm.

The CEO represents the president and provost in the Kansas City area when asked; establishes opportunities for their engagement with regional leaders on issues important to the university; and works with federal, regional, and state agencies and industry in creating partnerships that advance the university’s research, education and engagement missions. He or she takes a leadership role in public relations and marketing of the university’s presence in the Kansas City region, maintaining and strengthening strategic relationships with the community, alumni, benefactors and industry. The CEO will also work with university and regional stakeholders to maintain a strategic focus for K-State Olathe consistent with the strategic directions of Kansas State University and to build continued excellence and growth in education, research and outreach programs offered through the campus. The CEO attends and represents the Olathe campus at meetings and stays in close contact with local government.

The CEO also serves as the chief administrative officer for K-State Olathe and is responsible for overall program leadership, strategic direction, fiscal stewardship, fund development, policy formulation, impact assessment, and aligning the efforts and strengths of K-State Olathe with those of the university and its K-State 2025 Visionary Plan. The CEO is also responsible for the operational management of the Olathe campus, including personnel, facilities — i.e., laboratory, teaching and event spaces — infrastructure and safety.

Required Competencies/Qualifications

  • Proven success as a strategic leader with the ability to plan, coordinate, articulate, and execute a strategic vision and initiatives while engaging others.
  • Proven record as a successful administrator with responsibility for guiding strategy, evaluating, and motivating others resource acquisition and allocation, and overseeing operations, including personnel, facility and technology management.
  • Proven ability to initiate, lead, and foster transformational innovation and change, be adaptable with changing conditions, and comfortable with the ambiguity and pace of work that accompanies a large public university.
  • Demonstrated success as a collaborator and relationship builder with a history of building, enhancing, and sustaining successful partnerships the local, state, regional and national levels.
  • Strong interpersonal and oral and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion.

Experienced Recruiters

Academic Career & Executive Search focuses on executive search services, career planning and candidate coaching. Specializing in challenging faculty to senior administrative positions, the firm offers six a la carte services spanning full search, candidate generation, interim, multi-hire, and contingency search. Candidate support services include webinars, career planning and candidate coaching. Its team has served in virtually every capacity in higher education including president, vice president, provost, dean, chief human research officer and faculty members across all types and sizes of institutions.

Ms. Muller has more than 20 years of research and development experience in higher education and Fortune 500 companies. She has led over 70 higher education searches both domestically and internationally spanning presidents, vice presidents, associate chancellors, deans, directors, chairs, and faculty level positions. She is former vice chair of the American Council on Education (ACE) Executive Search Roundtable and serves as an advisor in the numerous ACE leadership development forums.

Related: Why Universities Have Stepped Up Efforts to Involve Search Firms

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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