Inside Pitzer College’s Presidential Search: An Exercise in Faculty Involvement

In recruiting new presidents, higher education institutions wrestle with the issue of transparency vs. confidentiality. The spirit of shared governance suggests that a search should be fairly open to the campus community and that a broad representation of individuals (and especially faculty) should be involved in the hiring process. Often, however, a college or university will keep a search mostly confidential, to encourage more leading candidates to throw their hats in the ring without a fear of repercussions from their home institutions.

In its most recent presidential recruitment – which ultimately led to the selection of Strom Thacker – Pitzer College fashioned a search process that went to great lengths to protect candidate confidentiality while providing faculty a significant role in the vetting of candidates and the ultimate hire. This process is illustrated in a recent article by Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Ed

“We focused on laying out some of the potential consequences and tradeoffs” to the Pitzer community, says Suzanne Teer, deputy managing partner of WittKieffer’s Education Practice, who led the team that supported the search. Pitzer “made decisions about the final stages of the process early on,” she notes, so that presidential candidates “had a chance to get used to it, and we weren’t springing it on them.”

Read more about the Pitzer College presidential search here:

An Expanded Faculty Role in the Presidential Search