Buffkin / Baker Seeks Chancellor for University of Mississippi

August 7, 2019 – Executive recruitment firm Buffkin / Baker has been enlisted to find the next chancellor for the University of Mississippi. Managing partner Martin Baker is leading the assignment.

The chancellor, who serves at the university’s chief executive officer, reports through the commissioner of higher education to the Mississippi board of trustees of state institutions of higher learning, the constitutional governing body for all eight of the state’s public universities. Among the qualifications for the role, the chancellor must demonstrate strong leadership skills; must understand Ole Miss, Mississippi and their unique culture and connectivity; and articulate a vision for the institution’s future that will expand its commitment to education, service and research, said Buffkin / Baker.

The chancellor is responsible for sound and effective management of the university, said the search firm. That includes engaging in strategic planning to craft a long-range plan for the university and developing strategies to make that plan a reality; generating resources for the university, including both public funding and private fundraising and to connect these resources to the mission of the institution; managing the university’s resources effectively and in keeping with the university’s mission; and providing visionary leadership to inspire, motivate and support faculty and staff, among other duties.

The board of trustees wants a dynamic, creative and accomplished leader with vision, energy and integrity who can build upon the success of the university in continuing to enhance the state, region and nation through comprehensive academic, research and public service initiatives, said Buffkin / Baker.

An Innovative Leader

The successful candidate must be an innovative leader with a passion for providing higher education opportunities to diverse populations. Also required is demonstrated skill as a visionary leader and strategic thinker.

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

Candidates should have a commitment to student learning, growth and development, as well as the intellectual, analytical and personal qualities for embracing and advancing existing and new university programs, expanding academic facilities, and building partnerships with business, government and philanthropic organizations, said Buffkin / Baker. The job also calls for excellent interpersonal and communications skills; a strong commitment to advancing the use of technology; the ability to sustain and enhance the fiscal integrity of the university; and the ability to recruit, retain and evaluate a qualified and competent administration, faculty and staff. 

A Record of Scholarship

The successful candidate must also have excellent academic credentials and a record of scholarship or equivalent experience and accomplishments that command the respect of the university community, said Buffkin / Baker.

Related: Recruitment for Higher Education Leaders Heats Up and Shifts

Prospects should have senior-level experience managing large and complex organizations with the ability to work with both internal and external constituencies, including faculty, staff, students, the local community, alumni, government, the media and the general public, said Buffkin / Baker. Also required is the ability to prepare and implement a comprehensive and fiscally responsible university budget as well as experience working effectively with federal, state and local officials.


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Further needed is a commitment to a diverse student body, faculty and staff and to promoting issues of multiculturalism; the ability to work successfully within a statewide system of higher education; appreciation for the importance of sustainability to the future of the university and the community; and appreciation for the value of a strong Division I intercollegiate athletics program competing within the Southeastern Conference. 

A Specialty Boutique Firm

Buffkin / Baker is a specialty boutique search firm composed of industry leaders in their respective fields and each has over a decade of retained search experience. Their focus as search professionals is to recruit leaders in digital marketing/advertising, technology, healthcare, media/entertainment, finance, higher education and non-profit. The firm serves public, private, venture and private equity-backed companies. Its office locations include Nashville, New York, Washington, D.C. and Winston Salem, with affiliate offices in London.

Buffkin / Baker is a member of Panorama Search, an international federation of retained firms with 18 firms and over 30 offices globally. Buffkin / Baker formed in 2017 with the merger of the Buffkin Group and Baker and Associates LLC.

Based in Winston Salem, NC, Mr. Baker has been in executive search for 19 years. In addition to his role as managing partner, he is also head of the firm’s higher education practice. He previously worked in the Atlanta office of Korn Ferry, where he developed search strategy and executed searches for numerous senior-level appointments.  He began his career as a research associate with Saxton Bampfylde, an executive search and management assessment firm in London. He has conducted searches for the positions of CEO, CFO, CIO, provost, dean, director and professor, having worked on over 350 searches throughout his career

Related: Academic Sector Pumping Big Fees Into Search Firms

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

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