PHILIDELPHIA, PA, January 17, 2018 – Five months after the retirement of the former chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, members of its oversight board say they are ready to begin recruiting candidates to lead the struggling university system through a sweeping change.
The 14 state-owned universities that comprise the system — including California, Clarion, Indiana, Edinboro and Slippery Rock universities in Western Pennsylvania — enroll more than 100,000 students across Pennsylvania. Faced with the dual hurdles of declining enrollment and stagnant state subsidies, the Board of Governors put out an online help wanted sign on Wednesday as they began a national search for a new leader.
“The selected chancellor will find a Board of Governors that has embraced the need for broad change across the State System,” a statement of search criteria begins. Publication of the search criteria marks the end of the second phase of the search that began with the appointment of a seven-member search committee from the State System oversight board, faculty and students.
The criteria statement notes that the State System is in the midst of a “comprehensive redesign” to ensure the sustainability of all 14 schools.
“We are excited about our momentum of change, which started last year with our comprehensive system review,” board Chairwoman Cynthia Shapira said. “We are now undertaking a system redesign, and our next chancellor will play a vital role in continuing that process — shaping, guiding and advancing that effort well into the future.”
Former Chancellor Frank Brogan , 64, retired from his $355,000-a-year post with the system just days after a consultant’s report called for sweeping change of it. Brogan, who previously served as head of the Florida university system and was lieutenant governor under former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has since been appointed federal head of K-12 education in the Trump administration’s Department of Education.
Shapira and board Vice Chairman Harold Shields are leading the search committee to name Brogan’s successor. Wheless Partners, an executive search firm, was hired to assist in the search and recruitment process.
System officials said the search will continue through the spring, with the expectation that a new chief executive officer would be on board by the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year.
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