Witt/ Kieffer Seeks Provosts for Elon and Central Michigan Universities

April 3, 2019 – Executive recruitment firm Witt/Kieffer has been selected to find provosts for both Elon University and Central Michigan University.

Elon University, located in North Carolina, is seeking a provost and vice president for academic affairs. Senior partner Lucy Apthorp Leske and associate Veena Abraham are leading the search for Witt/Kieffer. 

As the chief academic officer, the provost provides intellectual leadership for all academic departments and multi-disciplinary programs, student life departments, their faculty and staff, and budgets, said the search firm. The provost works collaboratively across all parts of the institution to promote academic excellence. The individual reports to the president and serves on Elon’s senior leadership team. The individual also chairs the university’s standing long range planning committee.

Elon seeks a proven, successful leader in higher education with the highest standards of integrity, personal record of teaching, scholarship and mentoring success, said Witt/ Kieffer. Budget planning and execution success are critical to the role. Candidates should also have an earned doctorate and qualifications for tenure at the rank of full professor in one of the university’s departments.

A National Model

Prospects should further have a collaborative and transparent approach to leadership, the ability to recognize and encourage innovation, and an established track record of designing and executing high-level initiatives in a shared governance environment. Passion for the mission of the university is also necessary, as is a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and the relationship-building and communication skills to connect with Elon University’s constituents.

Elon is a mid-sized private university renowned as a national model for engaged and experiential learning. The school is a premier student-centered learning environment. The 585 full-time and part-time faculty members teach in more than 60 undergraduate majors, along with seven master’s programs and two professional doctoral programs. The university includes Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, the School of Communications, the School of Education, the School of Health Sciences and the School of Law, which is located in downtown Greensboro, N.C. Elon’s 6,196 undergraduate and 795 graduate students come from 47 states and 53 other countries.

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Central Michigan University, located in Mount Pleasant, MI, is seeking a provost and executive vice president. Senior partner John K. Thornburgh and senior associate Elizabeth K. Bohan are spearheading the assignment for the search firm.


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Central Michigan’s next provost will succeed Michael Gealt, who will be stepping down at the end of June, after six years in the job. The new provost will be the No.2 officer of the university and a close partner of president Robert O. Davies, who began his tenure in September.

Key Responsibilities 

The university wants an innovative academic leader with the experiences and management qualities to build on the institution’s reputation and take it to even higher levels of academic excellence and student success, said Witt/ Kieffer. The new provost will be expected to express a passion for the mission of public education, and should understand and embrace the important social, cultural and economic roles public education plays in the region and state.

Equally important is the need for the provost to apply strong management skills in directing the office of academic affairs, said the search firm. The individual will also be charged with implementing the next phase of Central Michigan’s overall strategic plan, ensuring the long-term viability of the medical school, advancing the university’s research prominence and productivity, and championing the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Related: Academic Search Recruits Provost for Gonzaga University

From its roots as a teachers’ college, Central Michigan university has grown to offer nationally acclaimed programs in the arts and sciences, health professions, engineering, business, communications and technology. Established in 1892, the university serves more than 23,000 students on its Mount Pleasant campus, online and at more than 40 locations across North America. Among just five percent of U.S. universities in the highest two Carnegie research classifications, Central Michigan offers more than 200 academic programs at the undergraduate, master’s, specialist and doctoral levels. In addition, the school has established a college of medicine to address a growing shortage of primary care physicians in Michigan. The inaugural class graduated in 2017.

A Top Recruiter

Witt/ Kieffer, based in Oak Brook, IL, 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. With more than 100 search professionals nationwide, its consultants recruit CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CNOs, physician executives and other leaders.

Witt/ Kieffer’s education recruitment team identifies higher education and college preparatory school leaders who understand complex issues facing both public and private institutions: resource constraints, shifting national policy and increased scrutiny by boards, faculty, students and families. The education roles it recruits include presidents, provosts, deans, and officers for business and finance, advancement and development, student affairs, enrollment, IT and more.

Related: Spencer Stuart Recruits Provost for American University

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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