November 28, 2022 – Higher education-focused Storbeck Search, part of the Diversified Search Group, has been selected by Boston University (BU) to lead in its search for its 11th president. Robert Brown recently announced that he will retire as president at the end of the 2022–2023 academic year. The assignment is being led by Shelly Weiss Storbeck, global education practice lead and managing director; R. Thomas Fitch, managing director; Linda Chavers, managing associate; and senior associates Amanda Bennett and Lisa Solinsky.
“The presidency of Boston University is an opportunity for a distinguished scholar and experienced academic leader to work with a seasoned and successful senior leadership team to continue to raise the quality and stature of Boston University, nurturing research breakthroughs that address pressing societal needs, and educating graduate and undergraduate students to succeed in their professional and personal lives,” said Storbeck Search.
The search firm notes that Boston University’s academic range and aspirations require that the president be a distinguished researcher and scholar whose achievements within a discipline or emerging interdisciplinary area are widely recognized and merit appointment at the most senior level in an academic department or program. As the CEO of Boston University, which is a centrally budgeted institution, it is essential for the next president to possess excellent financial and operational management acumen.
In addition to being a visionary leader with high emotional intelligence and strong communication skills, the next president should:
- Demonstrate a history of innovative and effective leadership in large, complex, mission-driven institutions.
- Demonstrate a track record of effectively promoting shared governance and the role faculty, administration, and trustees play in the life of the university.
- Possess visionary leadership with the ability to anticipate, to the extent possible, emerging issues in the higher education landscape.
- Bring a track record of advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging with documented evidence of planning and implementation.
- Be knowledgeable about internal and external funding streams necessary to build and sustain excellence in research and educational programs and be experienced in envisioning, establishing, and managing these enterprises.
- Understand fiscal planning and accountability and possess a well-developed sense of how to allocate resources to fulfill the priorities of the university’s strategic plan 2030.
- Be prepared to play a key leadership role in the university’s upcoming fundraising campaign, serving as an unremitting champion for BU and as the fundraiser-in-chief.
- Possess significant experience in recruiting, retaining, and nurturing highly accomplished individuals. Along with their own credentials for excellence in research, scholarship, and education, the successful candidate should have a well-developed ability to gauge academic quality and an appreciation for the vital importance of hiring and promotion decisions for both faculty and staff roles in creating and sustaining excellence in the university.
Full details on other traits Storbeck Search / Diversified Search Group is looking for in candidates can be found here.
Boston University is a nonsectarian, but has a historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church. It was founded in 1839 by Methodists. The university now has more than 4,000 faculty members and nearly 34,000 students, and is one of Boston’s largest employers. It offers bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctorates, and medical, dental, business, and law degrees through 17 schools and colleges on three urban campuses
Higher Education Recruiting
Ms. Weiss Storbeck launched Storbeck Search in 2007 to focus on executive search in the education and non-profit sectors. Now part of The Diversified Search Group, the firm works on behalf of colleges, universities, schools, and non-profit organizations across the nation, with headquarters in Pennsylvania and local offices in every region. Storbeck Search has conducted searches for some of the country’s top colleges and universities, private schools, and non-profit institutions. Its roster of university clients includes Brown, Columbia, Haverford, Johns Hopkins, Lawrenceville, Michigan State, Northwestern, Pomona, Princeton, Swarthmore, and the University of Wisconsin, among others.
With more than 25 years of recruiting and search experience, Mr. Fitch brings to every client relationship sound judgment, credibility, and a focus on partnership with institutional leaders and search committees. Recent placements have included senior-level administrators at institutions ranging broadly from small liberal arts colleges to large private universities, to public institutions small and large. In his career he has held a variety of positions in both higher education and corporate recruiting.
Storbeck Search, part of the Diversified Search Group, has placed Darrell K. Williams as the new president of Hampton University in Hampton, VA. He will succeed William R. Harvey, who retires on June 30 after leading Hampton for 44 years. “When president Harvey told us of his decision to retire, we knew we wanted to build upon what he has accomplished,” said Wes Coleman, board of trustees chairman. “We embarked on a search for a proven strategic leader. The skills Lt. Gen. Williams is bringing to Hampton encompass what institutions of our size need. In a global world increasingly dependent on technology, this kind of strategic leadership expertise and knowledge can only help to move our institution forward over the coming decades.”
Ms. Chavers brings to Storbeck Search | Diversified Search Group 15 years of teaching and advising students and collaborating with senior leaders around the charged issues facing universities today. Before entering executive search, she managed hundreds of students’ personal welfare and academic progress as the Allston Burr resident dean of Winthrop House and assistant deans of Harvard College at Harvard University.
Ms. Bennett combines a commitment to serving mission-driven institutions in the education and non-profit sectors with 20 years of experience identifying and recruiting executive leaders. Before joining Storbeck Search | Diversified Search Group, she managed talent recruitment for several Fortune 500 retail companies. Partnering with CEOs, Ms. Bennett filled executive-level positions and led internal recruiting teams responsible for filling 100-plus corporate positions a year. In addition, she helped shape strategies for on-campus recruitment and internship opportunities for college students.
Ms. Solinsky has extensive experience in the education and non-profit sectors and a commitment to connecting individuals with mission-driven organizations. She has successfully managed searches for independent schools, colleges, universities, and non-profits for positions including head of school, chancellor, president, provost, and CEO, as well as senior leaders focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Prior to entering executive search, Ms. Solinsky served as director of development at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia, where she managed fundraising and donor stewardship programs. Previously, she served in development roles at the American Red Cross, Haverford College, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media