December 9, 2019 – Macon, GA-based Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting has placed Suzanne Blum Malley as the new provost for Methodist University. She will assume her new position on Jan. 15. Emily Parker Myers, CEO, and Jennifer Barfield, senior vice president, led the assignment.
“Dr. Blum Malley brings to us a strong track record of academic and scholarly success, and she is a seasoned and highly capable academic leader,” said Stanley T. Wearden, president of Methodist University. “I had the privilege of being Dr. Blum Malley’s colleague at Columbia, where I was able to witness firsthand her excellent work building and maintaining collaborative rapport with the faculty. She and the faculty have transformed the curriculum there, leading to significant improvements in both the graduation rate and the retention rate.”
Dr. Blum Malley is senior associate provost and a member of the English faculty at Columbia College Chicago. She has spent the past 25 years in various roles with the school. Dr. Blum Malley holds a doctorate in English: rhetoric and composition studies from Northern Illinois University, a master of Spanish applied linguistics and Hispanic literatures, and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
In her new role with Methodist College, Dr. Blum Malley is charged with providing motivational and inspirational leadership for all academic programs to facilitate appropriate program development, said the search firm. The individual must also assess the job market and industry for emerging trends and quickly build new online certificate and degree programs, especially professional and health sciences programs. Increasing the financial literacy among deans and department chairs is also important.
“I am deeply honored to be appointed to the provost position at Methodist University,” Dr. Blum Malley said. “I am energized by Methodist’s mission and commitment to providing transformative educational experiences that prepare students to go out into the world as principled leaders and ethical decision makers. I am also inspired by president Wearden’s vision for Methodist University’s next chapter, and I look forward to supporting faculty and students in their pursuit of excellence as we build that future together.”
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.
Chartered in 1956 as Methodist College, Methodist University today is an independent four-year institution of higher education with over 2,200 students from 41 states and 53 countries. The school offers over 80 majors and concentrations, 100 clubs and organizations, four master’s degree programs and 19 NCAA III intercollegiate sports. The student body includes persons of diverse ages and nationalities, with more than 40 states, the District of Columbia and 77 foreign countries represented. Methodist University has graduated more than 12,700 students. While the university has alumni in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and abroad, more than 5,700 of the school’s graduates reside in North Carolina.
Myers McRae serves colleges, universities, independent schools and other not-for-profit institutions. Nearly all of its search professionals have a minimum of 20 years of experience in higher education. The majority of the firm’s searches have been for presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans and other senior academic and administrative leaders. Myers McRae recently placed the president of Judson College, provost and dean at the Citadel and director of development at Piedmont College, among other roles.
Ms. Myers has led Myers McRae since 2008. As the firm’s executive officer, she has broadened the firm’s scope and modernized processes, emphasizing responsiveness, timeliness, effectiveness and affordability. While utilizing new technology in the executive search process, Ms. Myers said she remains committed to the firm having person-to-person connections with candidates and that clients stay at the center of every search.
Known for her leadership expertise and commitment to excellence, Ms. Myers brings to the firm’s searches her extensive firsthand knowledge and experience in higher education administration. For most of her career, she served as senior vice president of university advancement and external affairs at Mercer University.
Ms. Barfield works directly with colleges and universities on the recruitment and evaluation of candidates to fulfill their search needs. She brings more than 20 years of experience in education in fundraising, public relations, program development, strategic planning, and alumni and donor relations to our clients. Her career ranges from a private college-preparatory school, First Presbyterian School; a private university, Mercer University; and a state university, Middle Georgia State University.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media