R. William Funk & Associates Recruits Provost for College of Charleston

May 12, 2020 – R. William Funk & Associates, which specializes in recruitment for roles in higher education, has placed Suzanne Austin as the new provost and executive vice president for academic affairs for the College of Charleston. R. William Funk, president of the Dallas-based recruitment firm, led the assignment.

“Suzanne Austin is an incredible addition to the College of Charleston’s leadership team,” said Andrew Hsu, president of the school. “She possesses both a strong academic pedigree and a tremendous track record of success throughout her career. These attributes, combined with her laser focus on student success, faculty success and her experience in implementing and executing strategic plans, make her a great fit for our university.”


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With a career in academia spanning nearly three decades, Ms. Austin has spent the last nine years serving as senior vice provost and senior international officer at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where she has led a series of initiatives focused on student success, faculty development, international programs and online learning. Prior to UAB, Ms. Austin spent 20 years at the University of Delaware serving in a variety of academic positions, including as associate provost for academic affairs and faculty director for the office of the vice provost for research and graduate studies.

The college’s search for a new provost was led by Alicia Caudill, executive vice president for student affairs; Simon Lewis, English professor and speaker of the faculty senate; along with R. William Funk & Associates. Members of the college’s search committee included faculty, deans and administrators from across campus.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with all of the students, faculty and staff at the College of Charleston,” said Ms. Austin. “I’ve known about the college for a long time and have visited the campus several times over the years. I know what an excellent academic institution the college is, and the opportunity to serve the institution is very exciting to me.”

The College of Charleston is a nationally recognized public liberal arts and sciences university. Founded in 1770, the school is considered to be among the nation’s top universities for quality education, student life and affordability. It has an enrollment of more than 10,000 undergraduates and about 1,000 graduate students.

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

In 2018, the College of Charleston also used R. William Funk & Associates in the hiring of Mr. Hsu as its 23rd president. He was formerly provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at the University of Toledo.

Higher Education Specialists

R. William Funk & Associates has conducted more than 400 searches for university and college presidents and chancellors over the last 35 years. The College of Charleston search gives the firm what it calls the “superfecta” of president searches in South Carolina in that the current leaders at Clemson University, University of South Carolina and Winthrop University were all also placed by the firm.


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Many of the nearly 70 current presidents or chancellors that Mr. Funk has helped recruit lead some of the nation’s most respected universities. Here’s a sampling: Michael V. Drake, president of Ohio State University; Max Nikias, president of the University of Southern California; Carol Folt, chancellor of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Teresa Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia; Bernadette Gray-Little, chancellor of the University of Kansas; Robert Barchi, president of Rutgers University; Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University; James Clements, president of Clemson University; and G.P. Peterson, president of Georgia Tech.

Mr. Funk has been called the “guru of higher education recruiting” by the Chronicle of Higher Education and is listed as one of the 200 best executive recruiters in the world in the Global 200 Executive Recruiters: An Essential Guide to the Best Recruiters in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Related: Academic Sector Pumping Big Fees Into 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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