Presidential Selection Committee meets over spring break

The WKU Presidential Selection Committee, charged by the Board of Regents with finding and hiring a new president, met for the first time on March 11.

The Presidential Selection Committee consists of several board members as well as individuals who have taken part in past presidential searches. The committee, which was appointed by the board, hopes to have a candidate hired by March 2017.

“There are many unknowns going into this,” Phillip Bale, Presidential Selection Committee chairman, said, “but this process is going to be flexible.”

The Presidential Selection Committee laid out some tentative steps in the process of selecting the candidate who will replace President Gary Ransdell.

First, a search consultant will be sought out to aid in the search. Bale noted that the Presidential Selection Committee will have to be diligent and work closely with the search consultant to control the selection process.

“I think 10 years from now, what we do today will be very important,” Bale said.

WKU’s Executive Committee met on March 12 to discuss potential search firms to assist with the search for a new university president.

The meeting, which was also attended by members of the Presidential Search Committee, was a mostly closed session to protect information pertaining to the proposals submitted by search firms.

Jim Cunningham, search process facilitator, said a total of nine search firms submitted proposals to be chosen to assist in the search process.

Cunningham expressed his satisfaction with the firms who submitted proposals.

“By [March 2], we had received a number of very good proposals from very well-qualified search firms,” Cunningham said. “We felt good about that part of the process.”

Cunningham and members of his staff created a scoring matrix to help determine which search firm will be selected. Only members of the Executive Committee will be allowed to rank the firms, and the process will be anonymous. Members of the Presidential Search Committee will be allowed to participate in discussions of proposals.

To stay on schedule with the proposed timeline, Cunningham suggested the Executive Committee select the search firm by March 31 so the contract with the chosen search firm can be presented to Kentucky’s Government Contract Review Committee during their next meeting on April 13.

“If we cannot make that decision by March 31, that committee in Frankfort meets monthly, and it would be the main meeting before they can approve the final contract,” Cunningham said.

Barbara Burch and John Ridley, Board of Regents members, expressed reservations about the scoring matrix. Both regents said they wanted the process to be expedited by skipping over the scoring matrix and selecting the search firm verbally. Ultimately, it was decided that the anonymous scoring matrix would be used.