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Search committee to find the next Bradley president

The imminent retirement of university president Gary Roberts has made it necessary to begin the search for a new president to lead Bradley into the coming years. The selection process is long and involved, but the first steps have been taken.

“We are in some critical times in higher education,” said University Senate president Amahd Fakheri, who helped select the committee. “The next person is going to have an extremely, extremely important impact on Bradley, so this is an extremely important process.”

The committee consists of two co-chairs, seven members of the board of trustees, three members of faculty and one student representative. The co-chairs are James Shadid and Kathleen Holst, vice chair and secretary of the Board of Trustees, respectively.

The co-chairs will only receive one vote between them, and can only vote in case of a tie. The faculty handbook dictates that no less than one-fourth of the committee must be faculty, and provides for a process of choosing them.

The initial formation of the committee stated this summer, when most faculty members were not available. Three faculty members were selected as temporary members of the committee to handle some preliminary work, but an election for the formal members was held at the start of the year. Fifteen members of the faculty were either nominated or self-nominated to serve on the committee.

The Executive Committee of the Senate (excluding the Provost) then narrowed the field to six, ensuring that the list contained at least one member of each college, and taking into account diversity of gender and emphasizing length of service and involvement in the Bradley community.

“We wanted to make sure they are people who understand Bradley and that care about the university,” Fakheri said.

Two weeks ago, the elected members of the Senate voted to select the final three committee members: Laurence Weinzimmer, a Caterpillar professor of strategic management from the Foster College of Business; Jacqueline Hogan, a sociology and anthropology professor from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Tanya Marcum, an entrepreneurship, technology and law professor, also from the Foster College of Business.

There is also one student member of the committee, student body president Megan Brezka.

“My role within the Presidential Search Committee is to represent the best interests of our student body as we develop the candidate profile and determine which of the candidates would best fit within the Bradley community,” Brezka said.

After the committee identifies a preliminary group of candidates, the final decision on Bradley University’s next president will be made by the Board of Trustees.

“An ideal candidate is not only a strategic professional, but also someone interested in personably engaging and interacting with our student body,” Brezka said. “They would seek to become an active member of the Bradley and Peoria community.”

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