January 23, 2017 – Executive search firm Witt/Kieffer has appointed Concetta M. Stewart as a principal in its education practice. Ms. Stewart brings to the position more than two decades of leadership experience across academic disciplines, with particular expertise in academic affairs, program development, and technology and communications.
Most recently, she served as provost and vice president of academic affairs and interim president at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY. In this position, she oversaw a budget of more than $30 million across 90 graduate and undergraduate programs, and directed the hiring of faculty, deans, and other academic leaders. She previously held leadership positions in the School of Art and Design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and the School of Communications and Theater at Temple University in Philadelphia. Among current endeavors, Ms. Stewart serves as a trustee of The American College of Greece.
Applying Lessons Learned
“We are delighted to continue the expansion of our education practice with the addition of Concetta, particularly now as the higher education field is in such dramatic transformation,” said Robin Mamlet, the managing partner at Witt/Kieffer who oversees the specialty. “She brings an abundance of experience to the practice and a seasoned eye for identifying exceptional higher education leaders.”
“My new role at Witt/Kieffer is the culmination of a long career in higher education and will give me a chance to apply lessons learned in a variety of educational settings to the leadership challenges of colleges and universities nationally,” said Ms. Stewart. “I look forward to helping these institutions build their futures by identifying and securing the very best leaders.”
Witt/Kieffer assists hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools and physician groups; biotech, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical device companies; colleges and universities and not-for-profit community service and cultural organizations with senior administrative recruiting assignments. The firm has placed presidents for Robert Morris University, DePaul University, University of Washington, Roosevelt University, Virginia Wesleyan College, and the University of Toledo.
Witt/Kieffer Named to Hunt Scanlon Top 50 Roster
Witt/Kieffer was recognized earlier this month as one of the leading academic search specialists on Hunt Scanlon Media’s ‘Top 50 Non-Profit / Higher Education Search Firms’ list. It is first-ever roundup of leading recruiters across both sectors. Check out these top 50 trailblazers.
Witt/Kieffer recently announced another expansion of its education practice with the addition of Katy Young as a senior associate focused on college athletic director and coaching searches. Experienced in both collegiate and professional sports recruiting, Ms. Young has supported over 40 searches for Division I head coaches and athletic directors. She has worked with clients across professional sports (including NBA, MLB, and NHL teams) as well as major events and venues.
“This is a historic time for Witt/Kieffer’s education practice. The industry is undergoing great change and we have a steadfast commitment to the education sector and to our clients,” said Charles W.B. Wardell, president and CEO.
Boom Times for Academic Recruiters
Searching for academic leadership is now akin to searching for leaders for any business enterprise. As such colleges and universities continue to turn to executive search firms to fill their most senior level roles. And search firms have stepped up, with some 150 recruiting specialist outfits now serving just the academia sector alone.
“It is no wonder that universities and institutions of higher learning are turning to executive search firms in droves to fill their top roles,” said Diversified Search CEO Dale Jones. At a time with many academic leaders are retiring or leaving their posts to pursue other interests, he said, competition to replace them is intense.
“Recruiters have the requisite skills to manage a process that at times can be unwieldy, but more importantly they can help to expand a university’s reach and use their well-honed assessment skills to find the very best leaders in and out of higher education,” said Mr. Jones.
“Today, there are scores of search firms that serve the academic sector, which given the direction higher education has taken with its leadership and human capital, does not surprise me,” said Emily Parker Myers, CEO of Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting, a senior level recruiting firm that has conducted hundreds of searches for leaders in public and private universities and colleges across the U.S.
Plucking Recruiting Talent From Colleges
Witt/Kieffer is not the only executive search firm to pluck talent from universities in recent months.
Outgoing Ohio University president Roderick J. McDavis stepped down from his post late last year to become CEO of AGB Search. Mr. McDavis was the university’s first African American president and only the second alumnus to lead the Ohio University in the institution’s 212-year history
Myers McRae recently appointed Alan G. Medders Ph.D. as its new president. Dr. Medders has had a distinguished career in higher education and foundation administration, fundraising, planned giving, marketing, communications, and fiduciary and asset management. Most recently, he was with Columbus State University in Georgia where he served as VP for university advancement and executive director of the CSU Foundation.
And when not chosen by recruiters to join their ranks, some academic leaders have turned to careers in executive search by starting brand new recruiting firms themselves. Last year, four former black college presidents launched TM2 Education Search, which provides executive recruiting and leadership development services targeting historically black colleges & universities and predominantly black institutions.
The firm is the brainchild of former black college presidents John Garland (former president of Central State University); Sidney Ribeau (former president of Howard University); Wayne Watson (president emeritus of Chicago State University); and Dorothy Cowser Yancy (president emerita of Johnson C. Smith University & Shaw University).
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media