Higher Education Leadership Search Seeks Presidents for Two Oklahoma Universities

March 3, 2022 – Anniston, AL-based Higher Education Leadership Search has been selected to find presidents for the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) Board of Regents—East Central University (ECU) and Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU). Both assignments, which call for similar duties and qualifications, are being spearheaded by consultants Bill Meehan and Alan Medders.

For the ECU search, Higher Education Leadership Search has been asked to find a president who can articulate the university’s vision, mission, and values with internal and external stakeholders. The individual must build upon the existing traditions, distinctiveness, and strengths of ECU. He or she will also be expected to support and enhance the university’s overall operations and academic quality by
maintaining regional accreditation and maintaining or increasing academic program accreditations or approvals.

Qualifications for the role include: dynamic written communication and verbal presentation skills; interpersonal skills to interact effectively with RUSO and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, elected officials, and governmental bodies, in addition to students and parents, various constituencies of ECU, alumni, advancement, media, and the community at large; the ability to establish and nurture relationships with and connections to community and state leaders to maximize opportunities for partnerships and support to ECU; and proven ability to hire, develop, maintain, and advance an effective administrative team.

Founded in 1909, East Central University is a public university offering bachelor of science, bachelor of arts and master’s degrees. ECU is located in Ada, OK, about 90 miles from Oklahoma City. The university is home to 3,577 students (2,965 undergraduates) of diverse races, ethnicities and ages. Approximately 55 percent come from within a 60-mile radius of Ada, serving a critical need for college education in rural Oklahoma, but more than 30 countries and 25 states are also represented in the student population. ECU offers more than 70 undergraduate degree options as well as seven master’s degrees across seven colleges and schools.

Executing Financial Management

For the Northwestern Oklahoma State University assignment, Higher Education Leadership Search has been charged with finding a president who can ensure that the university maintains the highest level of compliance with all accrediting bodies for academic programs. The new leader must also execute thorough, astute financial management and approval of the annual institutional budget.

In addition, NWOSU’S new president will lead the development, communication and implementation of effective growth strategies and processes through shared governance. He or she must also endorse a success-oriented, accountable environment within NWOSU.

Required qualifications for the position include a proven ability to identify opportunities and to convert challenges into innovative solutions and programs that will advance the future of NWOSU. The university’s next president must also have the ability to promote a shared vision to address challenges and create opportunities, especially in the areas of student recruitment through graduation, employee excellence, and finances with ongoing attention to facilities and technology in support of student success.

Related: Recruitment of Academia Presidents Rising

Established in 1897, Northwestern Oklahoma State University is located in Alva. The university is home to 1,400 students of diverse races, ethnicities, and ages. While Northwestern primarily serves the vast geographical area of northwest Oklahoma and the Panhandle, its students come from more than 40 states and 20 countries. The university operates satellite campuses in northwest Oklahoma’s two largest cities – Enid and Woodward. The Enid campus has about 200 students, while the Woodward campus has about 130.

Respected Recruiters

Higher Education Leadership offers what it describes as a new model of higher education search: matching talented candidates with distinguished positions in the most cost-effective, streamlined and efficient manner. With search consultants from a variety of academic and administrative positions, the firm offers universities and candidates a variety of services: profile development, position advertising, candidate support and recruiting, facilitation of the interview process, as well as complete internet and social-media vetting.

Dr. Meehan served as president of Jacksonville State University (JSU) in Alabama from 1999 to 2015. After completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at JSU, he joined the faculty as a full-time biology instructor. Dr. Meehan served in several roles for JSU before becoming president, including coordinator of medical technology, director of academic advisement, assistant to the vice president for academic affairs, acting vice president for academic affairs, associate vice president for academic and student affairs, and acting vice president for institutional advancement.

Dr. Medders was previously president of Myers McRae Executive Search, serving as consultant on over 30 public and private institutional searches for academic affairs, advancement and business and finance vice presidents, advancement officers, academic deans and directors, state and national executive directors, nursing and cybersecurity faculty. During his academic career, Dr. Medders served as vice president for advancement at Columbus State University (CSU) and executive director of the CSU Foundation, vice president for university advancement at the University of North Alabama (UNA) and executive director of the UNA Foundation, and vice president of development at Campbellsville University in Kentucky.

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

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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