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Dennis Barden

Senior partner Dennis Barden joined Witt/Kieffer in 1998. A former managing partner of the firm’s Education Practice, Dennis supports boards and search committees in searches for presidents and chancellors as well as institutional leaders in the recruitment of leadership at the vice presidential and decanal levels. During his time with the firm, Dennis has played a central role in almost 400 searches across higher education, in the non-profit sector, and in healthcare philanthropy.

Deeply immersed in the marketplace dynamics impacting colleges and universities, Dennis’ reputation as a “truth teller” derives from his direct style and his strategic orientation. With nearly 40 years of higher education experience – including 20 years in increasingly responsible leadership roles at his alma mater, St. Lawrence University, as well as with Northwestern and Georgetown Universities and the University of Chicago – he brings to his clients broad and deep experience regarding both institutions and candidates.

Dennis is a recognized thought leader in higher education search and contributes regularly to such publications as The Chronicle of Higher Education and CASE Currents. He is also a popular speaker and panelist on the topic of leadership in higher education and has been recognized by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education with its Steuben Apple Award for excellence in the organization’s international educational programs. He works from offices in Chicago and Sarasota, Florida.

B.A., English Literature, magna cum laude, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY


Thought Leadership

Shared Governance Works in Executive Hiring, if We Let It
Candidacies Killed by a Typo
Challenges, and More Distractions, Lie Ahead for Colleges
Do We Need a Student on the Search Committee?
Every Sin is a Public Sin
Inside the Presidential Search
Balancing Confidentiality with Transparency in a Higher Education Leadership Search
The Nontraditional Candidate: Rumors of Its Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
Inside a Presidential Search
The Lonely Decision
Not Dressing the Part and Other Interview Mistakes
The Candidate and His Earring
The Internal-Candidate Syndrome
Referencing the Unreliable
The Unreliability of References
Confidentiality in Presidential Search
Your Next Few Leaders
Succession Planning: Your Next Few Leaders
Succession Planning: The Internal Heir Apparent
Executive Recruitment in Higher Education: Finding the Right Balance
Trustees Seeking Dynamic Leaders

Current Searches

Boston University | Senior Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations | Boston, MA
Stetson University | President | DeLand, FL

Recent Searches

View Prior Placements

Dennis Barden
Senior Partner
2015 Spring Road
Suite 510
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Phone: 630-575-6167
Fax: 630-990-1382
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