Spencer Stuart Seeks Provost for American University

October 22, 2018 – The hunt for university leadership has been heating up, especially with searches for provosts. Among the latest, American University in Washington, D.C. selected Spencer Stuart to find its next chief academic officer and provost. Scott Bass stepped down from the position in June. Michele Haertel, leader of the search firm’s education, non-profit & government, academia & research practice, is leading the assignment along with Mary Gorman.

Reporting directly to the president, the provost is the chief academic officer responsible for setting priorities and driving excellence across the university’s educational and research programs. The provost is the president’s key strategic partner in enhancing the profile and prominence of the university, expanding its intellectual culture, expanding and allocating resources, and building institutional partnerships.

AU’s provost has direct management oversight of a $433.3 million academic affairs division budget, which accounts for 60.4 percent of the total university operating budget.

AU wants an expansive, open-minded leader who is ready to listen and prepared to make decisions, said Spencer Stuart. The new provost will be expected to excel at building, leading and working within teams; balancing strategic and operational issues; representing AU to external constituents; fundraising; infusing the institution with a commitment to continuous improvement. All of that should be built upon and strengthened through diversity, equity and inclusion.

Ideally, candidates will possess exceptional scholarly credentials, proven academic administrative leadership experience and accomplishments, and superb communications skills. “Consistent with the university’s culture, the next provost will be a collaborative and transparent leader, committed to innovation and partnerships, and focused on enhancing teaching, learning and research across disciplines,” said Spencer Stuart.

The Right Fit

“We want somebody who has a lot of administrative experience, who is really good in dealing with complex situations,” said Jeff Rutenbeck, dean of the School of Communication and co-chair of the search committee, in an interview with the campus newspaper, the Eagle. “We want someone who is very skilled and experienced with inclusive excellence and someone who really understands how to drive that work forward. It is such a priority here and it has to stay front and center.”


Storbeck/Pimentel Seeks Provost for Colorado School of Mines
The Colorado School of Mines, commonly known as Mines, recently enlisted Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, one of the nation’s leading boutique providers in the higher education space, to help find its next provost.


“As you might imagine when engaging in such a high-profile search, we’ve attracted highly qualified candidates who require confidentiality regarding their participation in this stage of the process,” the school said in a statement. “In an effort to balance the desire for widespread campus participation with the confidentiality requirements of the candidates, we are pursuing an inclusive process that provides an appropriate balance of both.”

American University has eight schools and colleges: the School of International Service, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Communication, School of Professional and Extended Studies, School of Public Affairs, School of Education and the Washington College of Law. AU offers over 160 programs, including 71 bachelor’s degrees, 87 master’s degrees and 10 doctoral degrees. Its student body numbers over 13,000 and represents all 50 U.S. states and 141 countries.

Stick Rate

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.


Myers McRae Leads Provost Search for Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University has launched a national search for provost and SVP for academic affairs. The school has retained Kenny Daugherty, president of Myers McRae, to lead the assignment. 


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 University, Colgate University, Cornell University, Northwestern University, Wesleyan University and Yale University.

Ms. Haertel’s search efforts focus on leadership positions in research universities, liberal arts colleges, independent schools and non-profit organizations. She has a wealth of non-profit and corporate experience and has served on multiple non-profit boards and advisory committees.

Ms. Gorman, who works in Spencer Stuart’s Boston office, is a member of the education, non-profit & government practice. She focuses on leadership positions in liberal arts colleges, research universities, independent schools and non-profit organizations.

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

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