AGB Search Seeks New President for University of Dubuque

September 18, 2023 – Washington, D.C.-based AGB Search, which specializes in higher education leadership assignments, has been selected to find the next president for the University of Dubuque (UD) in Iowa. Senior executive search consultant Sally Mason and executive search consultant Larry Ladd are spearheading the assignment.

Earlier this year, Rev. Jeffrey Bullock announced he would be stepping down from the president role. Rev. Bullock, who served 25 years in the job, said he is staying on as president until a new one is found. Afterward, he will remain at the university in an of-counsel capacity. The University of Dubuque has said that the search could conceivably run upwards of two years.

Among the priorities for the next president are maintaining financial stability, embodying the university’s Christian commitment and culture, and giving renewed attention to current retention and degree completion initiatives, said AGB Search. The new president will also be expected to focus on supporting continued program innovation, establishing strong relationships with the university’s long-term financial supporters, and building a team dedicated to supporting the university’s future.

The University of Dubuque’s next president will continue to lead the institution through five strategies of distinction that are outlined in, and in support of, the university’s Student Success Commitment: maintain distinctive UD culture, continue communicating a compelling brand, continued strong foundational infrastructure, maintaining stakeholder support, and build upon outstanding academic programming.

A Key Focus

UD has achieved financial stability through successful enrollment strategies, sensible programmatic changes, robust fundraising, and a culture of fiscal responsibility, said AGB Search. There is virtually no deferred maintenance for facilities on the Dubuque campus, although compensation for faculty and staff will continue to be a central focus of future budget planning. “The new president will need to focus on maintaining and refreshing the university’s financial sustainability work and continue to look for ways to diversify revenue streams while efficiently managing expenses,” said the search firm.

The University of Dubuque is looking for a number of key attributes in its next leader. The new president must embrace the mission, purpose, and values of the university, including a deep Christian faith, said AGB Search. He or she should also demonstrate compassion, empathy, and humility. Being a strategic thinker and innovator, particularly when it comes to identifying opportunities to improve the university’s enrollment, culture, and financial sustainability, will be vital. The president must also engage with each member of the community as an individual in approachable and relatable ways.

It is critical that UD’s next leader be an exceedingly good listener, a thoughtful, reflective and ethical decision-maker, and a transparent communicator. Having the capacity to grow as a leader, an innovator, and a community builder is essential. This individual must be able to work collaboratively, transparently, and communicate effectively with all key stakeholders, including the board, administrators, faculty, staff, donors, friends, and alumni. The new president must also willingly and enthusiastically work with donors to solidify a sustainable future for the university.

Related: AGB Search Assists Gonzaga University in Finding CHRO

The University of Dubuque is a private, coed university founded in 1852. The university offers 31 areas of study as well as graduate programs in business, communication, physician assistant studies, and theology. The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary offers degree programs and certifications for several denominations including Presbyterian Church USA, United Methodist and Global Methodist, and United Church of Christ. UD’s Learning Institute for Fulfillment and Engagement (LIFE), which offers an adult-accelerated degree program, has six undergraduate degrees and two graduate degree options. LIFE is on the Dubuque campus along with sites in Cedar Rapids, IA, and Meridian, ID.

Serving Universities

AGB Search 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.

Cultivating the Higher Education Leadership Pipeline
In this brand new episode of ‘Talent Talks,’ Hunt Scanlon Media host Rob Adams is joined by Rod McDavis, managing principal of AGB Search and Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor Emerita of the State University of New York system. In this podcast, Dr. McDavis and Dr. Zimpher share recent trends in higher education leadership including diversity and how AGB’s Institute for Leadership & Governance is changing the game. Listen now! 

Dr. Mason joined AGB Search in 2015. In addition to being a senior fellow and executive search consultant with AGB, she is also a trustee at Des Moines University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Since joining the firm, Dr. Mason has assisted a variety of leadership searches including president/chancellor, provost/VPAA, and system administration roles for both public and private institutions. She has held many leadership positions in higher education including president emerita of the University of Iowa and president of the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences.

Mr. Ladd brings to AGB Search extensive experience as a trustee, consultant, and financial executive for colleges and universities, including service as a chief financial officer and interim CFO. Mr. Ladd also brings a strong track record as a consultant, on governance, strategy, and finance, to over 100 colleges, universities, and university foundations; these include organizations that are financially strong and financially challenged, large and small, public and private, not-for-profit and for-profit. He has also served as a trustee to large and small institutions, public and private.

Related: AGB Search Selected by University of North Dakota to Find Provost

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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