September 21, 2021 – Miramar Beach, FL-based executive recruitment firm Greenwood /Asher & Associates has been chosen by Auburn University to lead the search for its 21st president. In June, president Jay Gogue announced that he was planning to retire soon and that the board should start looking for someone to fill his role. “I think it’s important for you guys to begin to think about a search for a new president,” Mr. Gogue said at the time. As Auburn’s presidential search chairperson, Wayne Smith assembled an exploratory committee to research and interview executive search firms to assist with the search. “We sent an initial interest inquiry to more than a dozen consulting firms across the country,” he said. “Four executive search firms were selected for interviews, which were conducted last week. The group unanimously selected Greenwood / Asher & Associates to assist with recruiting presidential candidates. Greenwood/Asher is a woman-led firm with a diverse recruiting and consulting team,” he said. “The founders and partners, Jan Greenwood and Betty Asher, have both served as university presidents and tenured professors.”
“Since 1992, Greenwood / Asher has successfully completed more than 2,000 searches,” Mr. Smith said. The firm has conducted president/chancellor searches for several R-1 institutions, including the University of Florida, University of Kentucky, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Arkansas, University of Arizona, Ohio State University, George Mason University and the University of Maryland.
“Selecting the next president is one of the most important decisions our board of trustees will make,” said Mr. Smith. “The search will be inclusive, collaborative and transparent. We are committed to actively seeking a diverse pool of exceptional candidates. There is no set timetable for the completion of this search. We are dedicated to being diligent, yet expeditious in our pursuit to find a world-class leader for Auburn University.”
Auburn University is a public land-grant research university in Auburn, AL. With more than 24,600 undergraduate students and a total enrollment of more than 30,000 with 1,330 faculty members, Auburn is the second largest university in Alabama. It is one of the state’s two public flagship universities.
A Women-Owned Search Firm
Greenwood / Asher & Associates is a women-owned executive search firm with a diverse consulting team and extensive experience in executive search, consulting and training for education markets including elementary, secondary, higher education, university systems, campuses and non-profit organizations including associations, service, and cultural institutions.
The firm, led by founders and partners Jan Greenwood and Betty Turner Asher, was acquired in November by Kelly Education, a global leader in workforce management solutions offering staffing services to top companies.
Leadership roles in today’s colleges and universities have become increasingly demanding and complex. Senior academic leaders must balance the needs of numerous constituents—needs that require a cross-section of skills far beyond the traditional set of scholarly and research accomplishments. Interviews with a host of recruiters for the sector reveal the special challenges of their work.
Those who lead today’s universities are CEOs of publicly scrutinized institutions with requirements to fundraise, balance budgets and satisfy numerous demands with scant resources, according to Russell Reynolds Associates. “They compete for students, for faculty and staff members, and for rankings,” the search firm said. “Perhaps unsurprisingly, the average length of tenure in these roles is decreasing, and there is a growing need to attract and retain quality talent that can adjust to the unique challenges and aspirations of each educational institution.”
Dr. Greenwood is a pioneer in U.S. higher education, as the first woman president of a public four-year and graduate institution in Virginia and as among the first to hold multiple presidencies for both public and private institutions. The library at one of these institutions is named in her honor. She was one of the earliest executive recruiters focused on education and non-profit organizations. Dr. Greenwood is a licensed psychologist with experience as a psychometrist and with post-doctoral training in group methods. She brings these skill-sets to her work with clients, candidates, and search committees.
Ms. Asher was one of the first women to serve as president of a flagship institution. She brings to executive search, consulting and training a unique background of leadership service at all levels of higher education institutions and systems, in academics and student affairs and in public and private institutions. She has been a leader in executive search, consulting and training for the past two decades. Ms. Asher has led more than 500 searches, most at the president/CEO level.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media