President Selection Process Involves Search Advisory Committee

As UCA prepares to say goodbye to President Courtway, discussions about the selection process for the university’s next president will start this month.

The selection process for the university’s president is outlined in Board Policy 202.

The process starts with the creation of a search advisory committee appointed by the Board of Trustees. The committee will be made up of faculty, staff, student, administrator, alumni and community representatives.

These representatives will be nominated by their respective groups. The chair of the search committee then submits his recommendations to the Board of Trustees, who make the final appointment decision.

Benjamin Rowley, president of the Faculty Senate, said faculty who have been at the university for a long time and have been involved in its functions are likely to be considered for appointment to the committee.

“The chair of the committee is probably going to look pretty thoroughly at the faculty who have that good working knowledge and good institutional memory, because they’ve been here long enough to know when things go bad and when things have gone right,” Rowley said.

Upon receiving and processing applications from interested and nominated parties, the chair of the committee will send those applications to the committee, which will review them.

Christina Madsen, Associate VP for Communications, Public Relations and Marketing, said previous presidential searches have yielded a “wide variety” of candidates from both in and out of the state.

“To be a university president right now you have to be a superman or a superwoman – you have to be so good on so many levels at so many different things,” Rowley said.

“We would definitely want someone who understands how to run a business because some aspects of what we do are very businesslike,” Rowley said. “But then at the same time, we also have to have someone who understands what the university setting is like, because there are definitely some areas of what we do that are very much not businesslike and are very academically related.”

In addition to those two requirements, Rowley said that the president should have some political savvy in order to effectively advocate the interests of the university to the state legislature and the governor.

The committee is an integral part of the entire process. After preliminary screening, it chooses those applicants which they determine to be “semi-finalists.”

After a series of screening procedures, the committee will choose up to six candidates to invite for an on-campus interview, according to Section F of Board Policy 202.

After the round of on-campus interviews, the committee will submit a list of at least four finalists to the board, according to Board Policy 202.

The board may then conduct interviews with finalist candidates and will appoint the president “based on the recommendations of the committee.”

According to Rowley, an important part of the search process is the option to hire a search consultant or firm to assist in finding candidate for the position. which is outlined in Board Policy 202, Section 3D.

Rowley said using such consultants would help protect applicants from having to publicly announce their application from the beginning, which is a matter often not made public.

“Some people who would make great candidates may be in jobs already and they may want to put themselves into the application process, but they might not necessarily want the people at their current job to know that they’re doing so,” Rowley said.

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