Academic Search Seeking New Leader for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities

October 11, 2023 – Jay LemonsJennifer Kooken, and Maria Thompson of education-focused executive recruiter Academic Search was recently selected by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) to lead in its search for a new president and CEO. After five years of service, the current president, Mildred García, has stepped down.

The president leads an accomplished and diverse staff of 44 employees who support the mission of AASCU. The organization seeks a leader who is an experienced university or college president/chancellor who has recently served at a regional public institution and has a deep understanding of the current higher education landscape and the challenges of the students, leaders, and campuses AASCU serves. The ideal candidate will understand organizational culture and the importance of staff; committed to recruiting, retaining, and developing the best workforce possible given the post-pandemic realities.

Academic Search also notes that candidates must have knowledge and appreciation for the diversity of missions and histories within AASCU membership.  They should have a track record of equity-minded leadership with experience serving as a vocal, visible, and successful champion of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. In addition, candidates should have energy, passion, determination, and understanding to successfully engage in brand building for AASCU and its member institutions; ability to serve as an effective representative in the higher education ecosystem (e.g., in Washington, D.C., within the Department of Education, on Capitol Hill, and among the “Big Six” national higher education presidential associations).

This new leader must also be a savvy spokesperson who can elevate the profile of AASCU and the sector with a verbal communication style that rallies, influences, persuades, and inspires when delivering planned and extemporaneous statements.

Based in Washington, D.C., AASCU is a higher education association of 350 public colleges, universities, and systems whose member institutions advance social mobility for students of all backgrounds, positively impacting them, their families, and their communities for generations to come. Offering more than 3 million students each year an affordable, high-quality college education— particularly those from lower-income families, first-generation college students, and/or students of color—AASCU institutions are stewards of their communities, powering economic growth and preparing graduates.

Higher Education Consultants

For over three decades, Academic Search has been a leader in designing and implementing search processes for leaders of colleges and universities across the country. The firm has completed hundreds of executive searches for higher education institutions and related organizations, for roles ranging from presidents to provosts to deans. Academic Search has a formal relationship to a premier leadership development program. As the subsidiary of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), the firm provides substantial financial support to a number of leadership identification, development, and support programs across all sectors of public and private higher education. The firm is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Academic Search Seeks President for Saint Michael’s College
Academic Search was recently selected by Saint Michael’s College to lead its search for its 18th president. Lorraine Sterritt recently announced she was stepping down after becoming the first woman to lead the college. Ideally, the college’s next president will be person of faith with a deep respect and enthusiasm for the Catholic faith and intellectual tradition, the Edmundites and their focus on social justice and service, and for stewarding these fundamental elements of the college’s identity, said the search firm. This individual should be a visionary leader with high energy and passion for the mission of Saint Michael’s, as well as an enthusiastic advocate for the college, ready for active and deep engagement in the campus community, in the Burlington region, and beyond. The president must also be a wise leader with financial acumen and the ability to allocate, steward, and grow resources – including enrollment, fundraising, and the diversification of revenue streams – in support of the mission of Saint Michael’s College.

Dr. Lemons has been president of Academic Search since 2017, after serving for 25 years as a college president in both public and private higher education. A recognized leader in the academy, he has been particularly devoted to supporting leadership talent by working with new college presidents on the faculty of the new presidents’ programs of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges and through the professional development programs for aspiring leaders of the American Academic Leadership Institute. Dr. Lemons was president of Susquehanna University from 2001 to 2017, and prior to that served as chancellor of the University of Virginia’s (UVA) College at Wise, UVA’s public liberal arts college in southwestern Virginia.

Ms. Kooken, consultant, joined Academic Search from Merrimack College, where she served as director of business school initiatives. Prior to that, Ms. Kooken collaborated with academic administrators and clients to develop engaging professional development programs for the Graduate Management Admission Council. She began her career in higher education as assistant director of graduate admissions for Babson College.

Dr. Thompson also serves as senior executive coach. She is a career educator with a distinguished history of leadership in higher education. She has been president and CEO of Coppin State University, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta, and vice president for research and sponsored program at Tennessee State University, among other roles.

Related: Academic Search Recruits President for Norwich University

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

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