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Confidentiality in Presidential Searches

The issue of transparency of governance versus a candidate’s right to privacy is a long-standing one in higher education. Institutions have historically conducted searches in confidence and many candidates will not participate in a public search, for fear of alienating current relationships while reviewing other career options.

In this article, senior vice president Dennis M. Barden writes about his real-life experiences with three different institutions and how they have handled the sensitive issue of confidentiality in presidential searches. Confidentiality is not a matter of “right or wrong,” writes Barden. “Every institution must decide for itself what is optimal.”

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