March 17, 2020 – After an extensive national search, Spencer Stuart has placed Ross Gittell, chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire, as the eighth president of 157-year-old Bryant University in Rhode Island. He will succeed Ronald K. Machtley, who has held the job since 1996. Dr. Gittell’s tenure at Bryant begins in July.
“We are thrilled to find a leader like Ross Gittell, who embodies the character and future vision for Bryant University,” said William J. Conaty, chair of the Bryant University board of trustees. “Dr. Gittell’s outstanding academic credentials and experience as the CEO of seven community colleges within a complex organizational setting make him a perfect fit to succeed the legendary Ron Machtley as Bryant’s next president.”
Dr. Gittell is highly regarded in economic and policy circles for his economic analysis and forecasting. With an extensive background in university teaching, strategic planning and management, his focus has been on applying economic, organizational and management theory to regional, state and community economic development issues. He has frequently served as an expert resource for government, non-profit and business leaders in New Hampshire and nationally on topics including economic policy, workforce development, job creation strategies, community development and the business climate.
Prior to his appointment as Community College System of New Hampshire chancellor, Dr. Gittell was a professor in the department of management at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire. His teaching career spans more than 20 years and includes, in addition to the Whittemore School, teaching at the Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan, and the Graduate School of Education, Economics Department and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Dr. Gittell is active on numerous boards and commissions, in the New England region and nationally, and is extensively published. Beyond the academic arena, his background includes senior economic consulting for corporate and public sector clients.
“Throughout higher education, we need new models for enhanced student success aligned with economic growth and opportunity, and societal needs,” said Dr. Gittell. “With its exceptional student learning outcomes, engagement with industry and deep commitment to educating future leaders, Bryant University is at the forefront. I am excited to begin the next era at Bryant.”
Founded in 1863, Bryant University today is the result of 157 years of continuous innovation and evolution. Transitioning from a regional business college to a respected university in 2004, over the last decade Bryant has garnered growing national recognition as a pioneer in student-centered learning delivered through a distinctive combination of academic knowledge and character-building learning opportunities including highly competitive NCAA Division I athletics. Located on a contemporary campus in Smithfield, RI, Bryant enrolls about 3,800 undergraduate students from 38 states and 49 countries.
Navigating the Insular World of Academic Recruiting
Passionate about higher education, recruiters for the academic sector face a range of challenges than those in other areas are unlikely to see, says Shawn M. Hartman, of Washington, D.C.-based Academic Search. Widespread input from across an institution’s community, lengthier searches and state sunshine laws are just some of the issues that executive recruiters working for institutions of higher learning must deftly navigate.
Spencer Stuart’s education practice works with research universities, liberal arts colleges, graduate and professional schools, independent schools, research centers and institutes, and early and secondary education organizations. It has conducted more than 300 senior-level executive and board searches over the past five years. Ninety-six percent of the firm’s executive search placements in academia and research in the past five years are still in their roles today, said Spencer Stuart.
The practice has placed leaders across all functions with a particular focus on presidents, provosts, deans, chief financial officers, chief information officers and vice presidents. Presidential searches conducted by Spencer Stuart include those at Brown, Colgate, Cornell, Northwestern, Wesleyan and Yale universities.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media