January 13, 2020 – A number of colleges and universities across the country are opening searches that, if all goes to plan, will provide high-profile leaders to take them into a new era of fundraising, digitalization, sports and, increasingly the case, globalization. One national recruiting outfit, Washington, D.C.-based AGB Search, has become a magnet for such assignments — recently launching a variety of top leadership searches for Valparaiso University, York College of Pennsylvania, Southern Connecticut State University, Manhattanville College, Johnson County Community College, and a host of others. For this search firm and a raft of others 2020 is off to a roaring start.
“The leadership landscape in higher education seems to be shifting,” said Melissa Trotta, associate managing principal at AGB Search. “The tenure of college presidents is not as long as it used to be. And institutions are seeking the expertise of executive search firms for cabinet-level positions which had formerly been handled in-house. The stakes are high, and leaders know it’s worth the investment to hire search experts.”
Among AGB Search’s current assignments:
Benedictine University, Lisle, IL. Position: Provost. The provost will be charged with setting a strategic direction for the university. Candidates will be expected to possess a terminal degree and be a tenured faculty member who demonstrates scholarly productivity, said AGB Search. The ideal candidate must have at least five years of successful academic administrative experience as a provost, dean or a comparable position. The successful candidate should be positioned to effectively address the broad range of leadership challenges, decisions and opportunities required of the position. Shannon McCambridge, an executive search consultant with the firm, is leading the assignment.
Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS. Position: President. The incoming leader will be the college’s sixth president. The college wants an exceptional leader in higher education who values teaching, learning and scholarship and will demonstrate a commitment to the school’s mission. The ideal candidate’s leadership style should be characterized as collaborative, congenial, and transparent. It is also important that candidates be able to articulate the values of both a liberal arts and a career/technical education. The search will be led by executive search consultants James McCormick and Janice Fitzgerald.
Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY. Position: Provost and VP for Academic Affairs. This role reports directly to president Michael Geisler and serves as a member of his cabinet. The firm is looking for someone with experience with, and commitment to, the traditions of a small liberal arts college. Also desired is a proven record of progressive leadership as a senior administrator in higher education, including eagerness to work closely with the college president. The search is being headed by Ms. Trotta and executive search consultant Carlos Hernández.
Recruitment of Academia Presidents Rising
Reduced state funding, rising tuition costs, soaring student debt and decreased federal research funding have all contributed to a dramatic rise in the role search firms are playing in the recruitment of university presidents and chancellors.
Mount Aloysius College, Cresson, PA. Position: President. The college’s next leader will be expected to an inspiring, collaborative and visionary leader with a deep commitment to the liberal arts and professional education, said the search firm Mount Aloysius wants an inspiring, collaborative and visionary leader with a deep commitment to the liberal arts and professional education, along with an astute understanding of the challenges facing 21st-century higher education. It is also expected that the president will model servant leadership reflective of the Charism of the Sisters of Mercy and the Catholic intellectual tradition and be able to enthusiastically communicate both within and outside of the college. The search is being conducted by executive search consultants Loren Anderson and Ms. McCambridge.
Ohio Northern University, Ada, OH. Position: VP for Financial Affairs. The vice president will lead the business and finance division and serve on the president’s cabinet, said the recruitment firm. Candidates should have superior skills that reflect an understanding of the accounting, financial management, technological, human resources and physical plant areas of the university. It is expected that these skills will be attained from extensive experience in a financial administrative role preferably in higher education. The assignment will be led by executive search consultant Oscar C. Page who once served as the 14th president of Austin College.
Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ. Position: Dean of the Norm Brodsky College of Business. Rider wants a leader who can articulate a vision for the college and provide motivation and inspirational leadership to its faculty, staff, students and external partners, said AGB Search. The winning candidate will have demonstrated strengths in effective communication supporting an environment of diversity and inclusion, with the ability to engage in decision-making that is open and transparent, and to operate successfully in a system of strong shared governance. The assignment is spearheaded by Ms. Trotta and principal Concetta Stewart.
Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT. Position: VP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This is a newly created position for Southern Connecticut, said AGB Search. The university wants an exceptional communicator and active listener who has the skills to work one-on-one and in groups, influence others, successfully manage challenge, and serve as a powerful and effective spokesperson for the underrepresented. The search will be led by executive search consultants Kim Bobby and Robert Holyer.
Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN. Position: President. Valparaiso University is an independent, doctoral/professional university with a comprehensive liberal arts curriculum. AGB is looking for some with a genuine and strong Christian faith, an articulated sense of vocation, and membership in a worshipping community. The search will be led by executive search consultants Ms. Anderson, Kim Bobby and Robert Hoyer.
York College of Pennsylvania, Ada, OH. Position: Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and Dean of the Graham School of Business. The searches will be led by Richard A. Wueste, executive search consultant and former president of Adams State University.
AGB Search, which specializes in higher education leadership, conducts searches for college and university presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans, university system heads and CEOs of coordinating boards and related foundations. The firm was founded by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) in 2010.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media