SP&A Executive Search Tapped to Find 23rd President for the University of Arizona

April 29, 2024 – SP&A Executive Search has been chosen by the Arizona board of regents to lead in the search for the 23rd president for the University of Arizona. According to reports, the contract with SP&A is worth $275,000. The announcement comes after current president Robert C. Robbins said he would be stepping down. In 2017, the University of Arizona used R. William Funk & Associates to recruit Dr. Robbins to the president role for the school.

By this fall, “six to eight” other such universities will be looking for a new president, Alberto Pimentel, co-founder of SP&A Executive Search, told the University of Arizona’s presidential search advisory committee Wednesday, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Mr. Pimentel went on to say that the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill will be looking for a president, as will Washington State University and “two others that I can’t speak about (but) are absolutely going to happen. The marketplace is going to be crowded. You’re swimming with sharks.”

Arizona’s regents, who oversee the University of Arizona, have said they want to move quickly, and Mr. Pimentel agrees. “Expediency means that you move at a level of sure footedness,” he said, adding that though “on the surface it seems quick,” it’s a good move for the University of Arizona to start now given the expected competition later this year.

Founded in 1885, the University of Arizona was the first university in the Arizona Territory. It includes the Banner University Medical Center Tucson, which operates a separate four-year M.D. college in downtown Phoenix. Total enrollment is more than 42,100 students. The school offers 334 fields of study leading to bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees.

Provost Search

SP&A Executive Search has experience with the University of Arizona. After a thorough national search that included very strong candidates, the firm just helped to recruit Joseph Glover as the school’s next senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, pending approval by the Arizona board of regents. “Dr. Glover is uniquely qualified to advance the University of Arizona’s mission while addressing the challenges we face as an institution. His experience and knowledge will be instrumental in shaping our collective future as a university,” said Dr. Robbins.

Related: Academic Sector Pumping Big Fees Into Search Firms

Dr. Glover has spent the majority of his career at the University of Florida, a highly-ranked, public, land-grant research university with a mission very similar to the University of Arizona’s. He currently holds the position of senior advisor to the president, previously serving as that institution’s provost and SVP for academic affairs for three different presidents, from 2008 to 2023, and serving in several academic leadership roles for the Department of Mathematics and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Finding Higher Education Leaders

SP&A Executive Search (formerly known as Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates) is a boutique woman- and minority-owned executive search firm specializing in and exclusively dedicated to serving the higher education and non-profit sectors. Prior to establishing SP&A Executive Search, the firm’s consultants served in leadership capacities at leading national and international executive search firms.

Over one-third of all the searches conducted by the firm have been for the positions of president and chancellor and an even larger proportion have been for the wide array of senior officers including: provosts, vice presidents for all functional areas, academic deans, directors, and other senior administrators.

Mr. Pimentel co-founded SP&A in 2007 and has led and managed hundreds of search assignments for a variety of public and private universities and colleges, nonprofit organizations, and governmental agencies over the course of the past 20 years. He has recruited candidates for both academic and administrative positions for university systems as well as individual campuses.

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

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media


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