Savannah State University Taps Academic Search to Lead Hunt for Provost

November 6, 2017 – The hunt for university leadership has been heating up, especially the search for provosts and chancellors. Among the latest, Savannah State University (SSU) is seeking its next provost and vice president of academic affairs. The school has turned to Academic Search to fill the role. Senior consultants Mac A. Stewart and Maya Kirkhope are leading the assignment.

Savannah State is looking for a dynamic and proven academic administrator, said the search firm. The provost, who would assume office by January, reports to the president and is a key partner in academic decision-making. The administrator is expected to provide leadership in all academic matters and work collaboratively with the deans, faculty, staff, and administration to further the university’s mission and vision.

The university wants an accomplished teacher-scholar and a dynamic and creative manager with a record of administrative effectiveness, experience in the areas of strategic planning, resource allocation, accreditation, and curricular development and reform, said Academic Search. Candidates should have a Ph.D., ideally in a discipline offered at the school.

The Right Skill-Set

Candidates must have significant experience with assessment and accreditation, said the search firm. They should also have the capacity to foster a culture of appreciation of the value of accreditation standards and continuous data-driven improvement among the university’s constituent groups. The individual must be an excellent listener and communicator and someone who, after consultation, can make informed decisions in a timely fashion. The successful candidate must also understand, support, and articulate both internally and externally the centrality of the academic enterprise and SSU’s role as a historically black institution.


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Savannah State is the oldest public historically black university in Georgia and the oldest institution of higher education in Savannah. The university is a coeducational institution within the University System of Georgia with 200 full time faculty members and an enrollment of more than 4,800. It offers graduate and undergraduate studies including nationally accredited programs in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.

Recruiting University Leadership

For over three decades, Academic Search has been a leader in designing and implementing search processes for leaders of colleges and universities across the country. The firm has completed more than 380 executive searches for higher education institutions and related organizations, for roles that have ranged from deans to provosts to presidents.

Recently, Academic Search placed Nancy Nekvasil, Ph.D., as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Saint Mary’s College. Andrea Warren Hamos, senior consultant and vice president for consulting operations, led the search along with consultant Andrea Cowsert.

Other schools have turned to executive search firms to find new provosts. Here’s a look at a few from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Seattle University, the American University of Paris and Pace University have all enlisted executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to recruit new provosts. A nationally recognized search firm focused on recruiting transformational leaders for mission-driven organizations, Isaacson, Miller has conducted nearly 5,600 placements over 34 years.

Heidrick & Struggles’ higher education specialty team recruited Dwight McBride as the provost and chief academic officer of Emory University. Mr. McBride was previously the dean of The Graduate School and associate provost for graduate education at Northwestern University. The provost search advisory committee was co-chaired by professors Carol Anderson and Carlos del Rio.

The University of Illinois has selected Witt/Kieffer to lead its search for a new provost for its Urbana campus. The recruiting firm, one of nine under contract by the Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative to perform administrative, academic and medical searches, will be paid $121,600 plus expenses to conduct the assignment.

Wheless Partners has placed Michael Galvean, Ph. D., as provost and SVP of academic affairs at Texas Tech University. Mike (JR) Wheless led the assignment. Previously, Dr. Galvean served as dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources. Past provost Lawrence Schovanec left the post to become the 17th president of the university.

Greenwood / Asher & Associates placed Robert Jones as chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). With more than 30 years of experience in public higher education, Mr. Jones came the University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY) where he served as president.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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