March 19, 2021 – R. William Funk & Associates, which specializes in recruitment for roles in higher education, has assisted the Texas A&M University System board of regents in the selection of Katherine Banks as the sole finalist for the position of president of Texas A&M University. Dr. Banks is currently vice chancellor of engineering and national laboratories and dean of the Texas A&M College of Engineering. “The board was excited to know the search yielded tremendous interest and many qualified candidates,” said Elaine Mendoza, chairman of the board of regents. “This speaks to the stellar reputation, credibility and positive momentum of Texas A&M University. The board is confident that Dr. Banks will lead the university to even greater heights while celebrating the traditions and spirit that make Texas A&M unique.” Chancellor John Sharp said Dr. Banks’ decade-long record at Texas A&M prompted the decision. “Where is there a dean in the U.S. who has accomplished what dean Banks has accomplished?” asked Mr. Sharp. “If she can do for the university what she did for engineering, imagine what the university can achieve.”
Dr. Banks is a professor and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. She obtained her doctorate at Duke University. She studied and worked at three land-grant universities before coming to Texas A&M. When she was hired as vice chancellor and dean in 2011, the enrollment in the College of Engineering was 11,113 students, with about 425 faculty members. Today, there are 21,250 engineering students and 710 faculty members. That growth has been intentional, as Dr. Banks sought to enhance educational delivery, expand research and teaching facilities and improve faculty recruitment and retention.
“This is a tremendous honor,” Dr. Banks said. “The core values of Texas A&M, its rich traditions, unique culture and commitment to the greater good is the very foundation of this great university and resonates deeply with me. I hope to build upon that framework in our pursuit of preeminence, without losing what makes Texas A&M so special. Texas A&M is one of a kind and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
Texas A&M opened in 1876 as the state’s first public institution of higher learning. Today, it stands as a research-intensive flagship university, one of only 17 institutions to hold the triple land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant designation. Texas A&M’s main campus in College Station is home to more than 66,000 students. Another 5,400 students are at branch campuses in Galveston and Qatar and at the School of Law, Higher Education Center at McAllen and Health Science Center locations across Texas. The flagship has an annual budget in excess of $2.1 billion. Its athletic teams compete in the powerhouse Southeastern Conference (SEC). The university has more than 522,000 former students who live, work and serve in more than 100 countries throughout the world.
Higher Education Specialists
R. William Funk & Associates is an executive search firm specializing in higher education executive recruitment. Bill Funk is the firm’s chief executive officer. The firm has recruited chancellors/presidents two-thirds of all public AAU universities. The firm has also recruited presidents or chancellors to more than one-half of U.S. News & World Report’s recently published “Top 30 National Universities.” The firm has conducted more than 425 searches for college and university presidents and chancellors as well as an even greater number of provosts, deans and various vice presidents.
R. William Funk & Associates has assisted the Central Washington University in the recruitment of A. James Wohlpart as its 15th president. James L. Gaudino, who has served in that role since 2009, announced last year that he would step down from his post on July 31. The process of hiring a new president began last February when the board of trustees hired the search firm to conduct a national search. The board appointed the search committee in March, and tasked them with reaching out to university stakeholders to learn what they perceive to be the greatest challenges for the university and to discuss the qualities desired in a new president.
During the past 35 years, R. William Funk & Associates has recruited more than 425 college and university presidents and chancellors, for institutions ranging from small liberal arts colleges to large public universities. “The firm has recruited chancellors/presidents for two-thirds of all public AAU universities,” according to Central Washington University. “Additionally, it has been recognized by the Women’s Network of the American Council on Education (ACE) for its work in recruiting women and minorities to senior levels of higher education. The firm has broken the color and/or gender line in president searches at more than 40 institutions around the country.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media