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Presidential Search Report

Presidential Search Report

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Published by AlumniRelations

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Published by: AlumniRelations on Dec 03, 2009
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12/03/2009

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December 2, 2009
MEMORANDUM
TO: Members of the Washington College CommunityFROM: Jay Young, Chair Presidential Search CommitteeSUBJECT: Report of the Presidential Search Committeeand Nomination of the 27
th
President of Washington CollegeThis report is the culmination of a search process that began last April when Baird Tipsoninformed the Board of his intention to step down as President of Washington College atthe conclusion of the 2009-2010 academic year.At its April meeting, the Board of Visitors and Governors adopted a charge that outlinedthe Board's expectations for the search process and the authority granted to thePresidential Search Committee. The Committee was to develop a statement of desired presidential qualifications that would guide the search and selection process and sharethem with prospective candidates and individuals likely to nominate candidates. TheCommittee was to adopt a timetable for the search that would permit the election of asuccessor president on December 5, 2009. The Committee was to conduct an activenational search to attract highly qualified candidates. It was to make periodic progressreports to the Board of Visitors and Governors and to the College community. It was toobserve strict confidentiality in the conduct of the search. Finally, the Committee was to bring the name of one or more finalist candidates to the Board, which retained the right toselect and appoint the President.Today we have fulfilled that charge. Before the Board acts on the Presidential SearchCommittee's recommendation this weekend, I want to relay how we went about our  business and came to this moment. It has been an incredibly fascinating and rewarding process for all of us on the Committee. I apologize, in advance, for the length of thisMemorandum. I think it is important that the proceedings be carefully detailed to provideas much transparency as possible, within the limitations of a confidential process. ThisMemorandum may also be of use to future search committees by providing the history of this search.When we started more than seven months ago, several on the Committee had never metone another. Almost immediately the group clicked. Our discussions have been openand frank but always polite, respectful and constructive and totally devoid of dissention.To stay on task it has often been necessary to use subgroups of the Committee to sortthrough material or administrative matters between meetings of the full committee, andseveral members have gone that extra mile time and again. I was privileged to work closely with Board Chair Ed Nordberg on at least a weekly and sometimes daily basis.
 
Larry Culp, Vice Chairman of the Board, was also included in all discussions of significant issues. Joe Holt did a masterful job of coordinating all committee activities,acting as a liaison with the consultant, the committee, senior staff, the candidates and allothers who would eventually become involved in the process. It is amazing how manymoving parts there are in this process and Joe was brilliant in the coordination of thosemoving parts. Below is a summary of our activities.Appointing the Presidential Search CommitteeAt the request of Ed Nordberg ‘82, Chair of the Board of Visitors and Governors, Iagreed to serve as Chair of the Presidential Search Committee. Ten individuals wereappointed to assist me in this important work. Larry Culp ‘85, Steve Golding ‘72, NinaHoughton P’82 GP’11, and Ralph Snyderman '61 H’04 agreed to serve as Boardrepresentatives; Louise Amick ‘69 (Associate Professor of Mathematics), Joachim Scholz(Professor of German and former Provost and Dean of the College), and John Seidel(Lammot duPont Copeland Associate Professor of Anthropology and EnvironmentalStudies, Chair of the Anthropology and Sociology Departments, and Director of theCenter for Environment & Society) were asked to serve as faculty representatives; BryanMatthews ‘75, Associate Vice President for Administrative Services and Director of Athletics, was asked to represent the staff of the College; Jeannie Baliles ’62, Visitor Emeritus and Chair of the Nominations Committee of the Alumni Board, was asked torepresent the alumni of the College; and Sarah (Tri) Ofosu-Ameyaw ‘10, President of theStudent Government Association, was asked to represent the students of WashingtonCollege. Ed Nordberg served ex officio, and Joe Holt was asked to provideadministrative support to the Committee.In assembling the committee, we sought to achieve a balance in experience and expertise.The Board representatives reflected the range of our membership – there were alumni anda parent/grandparent/friend; alumni-elected, board-elected, and gubernatorial-appointedmembers; those who were just beginning their Board service, as well as those who haveserved for many years; those from the local region, as well as those from some distance;members who have served on all major Board committees; and members who arereflective of a wide range of life experiences. Our representative faculty membersspanned the three academic divisions (Humanities, Natural Sciences, and SocialSciences). The Associate Vice President for Administrative Services is broadlyexperienced within student services (athletics, student affairs, and dining services), andhis service at Washington College spans almost twenty years. Jeannie Baliles, the alumnirepresentative, chairs the Alumni Board’s Nominations Committee and is also anemeritus member of the Board of Visitors and Governors. Tri Ofosu, a psychology and political science double major, serves as the elected president of the Student GovernmentAssociation. Ralph Snyderman and Joachim Scholz brought the added experience of having served on the College’s last presidential search committee.Selection of an Executive Search FirmEd Nordberg chaired a subcommittee to identify a national executive search firm to assistthe Committee. A request for proposals was issued to six national firms. Three firmswere interviewed, and the firm of Storbeck/Pimental was engaged to assist theCommittee in this important work. Storbeck/Pimental is a premiere executive searchfirm serving the chief executive officer and chief academic officer search needs of American higher education. The firm has its roots as the Education Practice of A.T.Kearney Executive Search.
 
 We were especially pleased that Shelly Weiss Storbeck, Managing Partner and Co-Owner of Storbeck/Pimental, was assigned to our search. Before forming Storbeck/Pimentel,Ms. Storbeck served for 15 years as Managing Director of the Education Practice at A.T.Kearney. During her tenure, she led more than 300 searches for public and privateuniversities, colleges and schools, and not-for profit associations and organizations. Sheis also a former senior associate and Administrative Officer for the education practice atKorn/Ferry International. Prior to that, she served as Assistant to the President for Educational Affairs at Haverford College, which included experience for all senior administrative searches. Shelly was joined in her work by Steve Leo, a principal withStorbeck/Pimental, and Nell Booth, a Senior Associate. The Committee was very happywith the support and performance of our consultant team.Planning the Search ProcessOne of the initial issues presented by our consultant involved the establishment of a policy respecting the confidentiality of the process. There is a growing trend, particularlyamong candidates who are recruited, or those with sensitive positions such as sitting presidents, to guarantee complete confidentiality in the entire process. Candidatesobviously do not want their present positions compromised. Those who are not selectedare likewise interested in keeping that fact confidential. Certain candidates, generally themost qualified, will simply not participate in the process if anonymity cannot beguaranteed. Committed to develop the best possible pool of candidates, we decided toaccept the consultant’s recommendation that candidates could be assured a confidential process through the conclusion of the search.The full Presidential Search Committee convened for the first time on May 12. Wediscussed and then signed a confidentiality agreement, vowing to keep all deliberations of the Committee confidential, in fairness to the search process and in fairness to thecandidates, who would be promised confidentiality. We agreed that the onlyspokesperson for the Committee would be me, and that I would keep the Board informedin brief reports as the search proceeded. We also agreed that I would send periodicupdates to the campus constituencies on the progress of the search, which I have done.And we set up a search website, with a link from the Washington College home page, tokeep the campus constituency informed about the progress of the search and about how tosubmit suggestions or nominations. We agreed on a tentative timetable for the search toconform to the Board's wish to have a candidate recommended to the Board at themeeting on December 5.Storbeck-Pimentel began its involvement in earnest in late April and early May, withvisits to the campus. In order to broaden the direct participation of various constituenciesin the search process, and to engage the entire community, search committee membershelped to assemble separate open meetings of students, faculty, staff, and communityleaders. At each of these meetings, the consultants asked the views of the participants onwhat Washington College offered and what we were looking for in a president. Both Ed Nordberg and I were present for most of the sessions.Based on these listening sessions, an institutional prospectus and job announcement were prepared. The consultants advised us that the purpose of the prospectus was to introducethe College, not to answer every question a candidate might have, and that promisingcandidates would receive a packet of more detailed information after they expressedinterest. The Committee debated and worked over the draft collectively in a meeting andalso sent suggestions individually. In late May, we published the prospectus and ran the

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