November 21, 2022 – Williamsport, PA-based higher education executive search firm RPA Inc. has been involved in the recruitment of a new president for Slippery Rock University (SRU). William Behre, who has led the school since 2018, announced in February that he plans to retire, effective June 30, 2023. Dana John Cohick and Kendra Mozug are leading the assignment.
The search firm has recruited candidates and provided the university’s search committee a candidate pool for consideration. During the last few months, the search committee interviewed and evaluated candidates, culminating in the in-person search committee interviews with a select group of candidates that took place the first weekend in November. From those interviews, four candidates were selected. The four candidates vying to become the next president of Slippery Rock University will be on campus for interviews, Nov. 28 to Dec. 2. During that time, the SRU community will have the opportunity to engage directly in the search process by meeting candidates at forums according to their constituent groups.
Each candidate will follow the same schedule while on campus, said the university. The first day includes meetings with the provosts, deans, and the council of trustees. The second day includes a meeting with the president’s cabinet, lunch with invited student leaders, a campus tour, and various forums.
As CEO, the president provides leadership for all aspects of the university, including academics, finance, planning, student affairs, enrollment, advancement, human resources, athletics, and other key areas. The president works closely with the council of trustees, cabinet, collective bargaining leadership, faculty, staff, and students to ensure that the strategic direction and policies of the university are aligned with its mission and honor its history to provide for the university’s continued financial health. The president has principal responsibility for the planning, development, implementation, assessment, and improvement of all programs and policies, provides leadership for enhancing educational programs and services, and guides highly qualified and committed faculty and staff. Additionally, the president builds strategic, collaborative affiliations and serves as an engaged member of the off campus community, including fundraising activities as well as developing partnerships and resources in support of the university’s mission.
Established in 1889, Slippery Rock University is a regional public master’s university and member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE). Slippery Rock is a four-year, public, coeducational, comprehensive university offering a broad array of undergraduate and select graduate programs to nearly 8,500 students.
Higher Education Recruiters
RPA is an executive recruitment and consulting firm focused on higher education institutions and non-profit organizations. Richard Allen founded the firm in 1988 with the mission of assisting institutions of higher education in recruiting senior personnel and in enhancing capacity to raise philanthropic income. RPA has placed senior leaders at SUNY Empire State College, University of Mobile, Springfield College, Calumet College of St. Joseph, Thomas Nelson Community College, and Thomas Nelson Community College, among others.
Beginning his career at RPA Inc. and then rejoining the firm in a leadership role in 2015, Mr. Cohick combines direct experience in both executive recruitment and higher education. He has facilitated searches for chancellors, presidents, senior leadership and cabinet officers, as well as many other senior-level administrative positions. His executive recruitment work spans public and private four-year institutions, two-year community and technical colleges, public education systems, as well as non-profit organizations across the nation.
Academic Sector Pumping Big Fees Into Search Firms
Academic institutions continue to pump big fees into the coffers of executive search firms nationwide. Many academic recruiting specialists say business, in fact, has never been better. Even smaller recruiting outfits have multiple assignments running concurrently, all at the senior levels, and if there’s any slowdown coming it is to be found at the talent identification stage. With so much activity, it seems, talent demand is far outstripping the supply.
Ms. Mozug joined RPA Inc. in 2013 as a search manager. As a search consultant since 2018, she has partnered with clients including Truman State University, Howard University, and institutions within the State University of New York System.
Earlier this year, RPA Inc. assisted in the recruitment of Charles E. Patterson as the 18th president of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. He succeeded Laurie Carter who departed to become president of Lawrence University in Wisconsin. “As interim president of Shippensburg University and former president of Mansfield University, Dr. Patterson has demonstrated that he is the right person to lead the university forward,” said Cindy Shapira, board chair. “We believe his commitment to working with students, faculty, and staff will help guide Shippensburg on its mission to provide an affordable and high-quality education. We are confident in our choice of Dr. Patterson to continue the great work that’s happening at Shippensburg.”
“Dr. Patterson has led Shippensburg for nearly a year with a strong commitment to student success and listening to all voices on campus,” said state system chancellor Dan Greenstein. “Shippensburg is an outstanding institution and with his remarkable experience as a university leader, Charles is a perfect match for the university. He has been a great partner at the State System, and I look forward to continuing to work with him.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media