Applications are open for next university president

Monica Kast

The job position for the next president of WKU has been posted online and has begun accepting applicants.

According to information posted along with the job description, it was posted on Aug. 23. The position will close Oct. 22. The posting is available through the WKU website, Inside Higher Ed, a website that provides news and job postings about higher education, and the Isaacson, Miller website, the executive hiring firm used by WKU for the presidential search.

“Western Kentucky University seeks applications and nominations for the next president of the University,” the posting on the Isaacson, Miller website reads. “This is an opportunity to lead the largest and highest performing comprehensive public institution of higher education in Kentucky, located on one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.”

Michael Baer, vice president at Isaacson, Miller, said the posting was created through information gathered through campus forums as well as meetings the firm held on campus. Baer also said the firm did extensive research and reading about WKU.

“We absorbed a lot of information about the institution and drafted the position profile, and then shared it with the search committee,” Baer said.

After the search committee was presented with the profile, Baer said it made some suggestions and edits to the profile, and then it was posted.

Baer said the next step for Isaacson, Miller is to do “extensive networking,” and look for individuals who would be ideal for the position.

“We talk to a lot of sources,” Baer said. “We want to persuade them that this is an opportunity they can’t pass up.”

At a presidential search forum was hosted by Baer and Dan Rodas, another vice president of Isaacson, Miller, on Aug. 29. At the forum, Baer and Rodas asked attendees to submit names of those they felt would make a good president.

Although no names were submitted at the time of the forum, Baer said since then, they have received several names. Additionally, the position has been posted in several higher education publications, such as Women in Higher Education. Baer said they have received several applicants through those publications.

Although there have been several forums hosted on campus since President Gary Ransdell announced his plan to retire, the forums may or may not continue in the future. According to Presidential Search Committee Chair and Board of Regents member Phillip Bale, whether or not a candidate wants to participate in a forum would be up to the candidate and the Board of Regents.

“That is a decision that the full Board [of Regents] will have to make,” Bale said.

Bale also noted the candidate may want to remain confidential until a final decision is made, and therefore, a forum may not be held.

The presidential search committee originally announced it hoped to have a candidate hired by March 2017. Baer said Isaacson, Miller will continue accepting applicants for the position “until it’s filled.”

According to the job posting, the next president should be prepared to begin for the 2017-2018 school year.

“The ideal candidate will be available to take office on July 1 at the beginning of the 2017-18 fiscal year,” the posting reads.

Reporter Monica Kast can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @monicakastwku.