In a Jan. 22 email to the campus community, University President Joanne Glasser announced she will end her eight year stay on the Hilltop when she retires May 31, leaving the Board of Trustees to find a new leader.
Chairman of the Board Doug Stewart said he hopes to have the next president in place by the start of the fall 2015 semester. To achieve this goal, a search committee will be formed to find candidates and eventually bring them to campus for interviews.
The search committee that hired Glasser in 2007 was composed of 12 people, which Stewart said seemed to “function very well.” Specific details for forming the new search committee will be decided at next week’s Board of Trustees meetings Feb. 5 and 6.
The committee will be comprised of members appointed by the Board of Trustees and at least 25 percent faculty, as required by the University Senate handbook. Typically, those appointments include at least one student and one alumnus who will join a group of trustees on the committee.
The nationwide search will be assisted by an outside firm experienced in higher education candidate searches that will find applicants based on a list of ideal attributes provided by the university’s search committee.
Although these specific characteristics and qualifications have yet to be determined, Stewart said he believes a suitable candidate will need a strong vision for the future.
“This is not business as usual in higher education,” Stewart said. “There is an environment that is changing very rapidly…and there are some who would suggest that the number of colleges and universities that are going to be around 10 years from now are significantly less than we see here. So, my view is that you have to have someone in that role who is a strategic thinker that understands not just the direction things are going but things that we can do to distinguish ourselves.”
In the midst of multi-million dollar budget cuts, the financial side of hiring a new president presents opportunities, especially when examining Glasser’s total compensation of $705,936 as reported by the 990 tax forms of 2012. Stewart, however, was unable to comment on what the university is prepared to offer the next president.
“I know a little bit about what the market is because of what is reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, but when you think about the size of the budget and the importance of the job, we’re not going to limit ourselves to a specific salary,” Stewart said. “We’re going to do what we think is fair…It’s going to depend upon where the person comes from, what their background experience is, and ultimately, what the market rate is.”
In regard to other high-level administrative positions, Glasser’s retirement could bring about other changes.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that the provost [David Glassman] is interviewing [at other institutions], and good for him; he obviously aspires to be a college president, and I wish him all the best,” Stewart said. “My view, generally, is that you want the new president to be able to have any say in terms of other openings that might occur…If some vacancies come up before August, I think the natural thing to do would be to have whoever other people are in that area of the institution be an interim so that the new president can have some impact on the hiring of those people that report directly to him or her.”
The Hilltop is no stranger to interim staff and administrators, but Stewart said the next person to take the helm will likely be a permanent hire.
“We would prefer not to [appoint an interim president], because that would mean the search is going on longer than expected,” Stewart said, indicating that an interim president would serve as a back-up plan. “First and foremost, however, we need to get the right person rather than adhere strictly to a timeline.”
Much of the process may seem the same as last year’s search for a vice president of Student Affairs that concluded with the permanent hire of Nathan Thomas. The difference this time, however, is that the final decision is made by the Board of Trustees rather than the president of the university.
“Once we narrow it down to about three, the various candidates will be brought to campus to meet with different constituencies,” Stewart said. “The various constituencies would likely be the faculty, students, some alumni and staff members.”
As for the possibility of hiring internally, Stewart said the board would welcome internal applicants, but university presidents do not typically “rise up the ranks” at the same institution.
“In the business world as a CEO, one of your duties is to prepare for successful management,” Stewart said. “[This is] not so in the university setting. It’s more often than not that the person comes from the outside.”
The hiring of a new university president is a time-pressing process.
“August is not that far away, and a lot of work has to be done between now and then,” Stewart said. “But the other side of that is the institution can roll along and get done what it needs to get done over a seven or eight month period.”
The search for a new president will take first priority at next week’s Board of Trustees meetings, as Stewart said it will be “agenda item one,” although there will be other discussions and planning for initiatives that have much longer timelines.
Appointed to the presidency in 2007, Glasser became the tenth president of the university and the first female to lead Bradley since Lydia Moss Bradley established the school in 1897.
Look for a reflection on Glasser’s presidency from the president herself, as well as salary and budget information of the university, in the Feb. 6 issue of The Scout.