WKU Board of Regents appoints presidential search committee

Herald Staff

WKU Board of Regents called a special meeting for today at 1:30 p.m. in order to appoint the members of the presidential search committee.

This meeting comes almost two weeks after President Gary Ransdell announced his retirement at the Board of Regents meeting in Elizabethtown, on Jan. 29.

Ransdell addressed the board at the start of the meeting before excusing himself from the proceedings.

“This is one of the rare board opportunities that doesn’t come along too often,” Ransdell said. “I believe the board should act independently so I excuse myself. This is board business.” 

The first action the board took was the approval of the candidates for the presidential search committee. Phillip Bale was unanimously appointed as chair.

“The challenges facing higher education in the commonwealth, and the country, are unprecedented in scope,” Bale said in a prepared statement. “We should not look back or tarry. There will be time to celebrate later.”

The other members serving on the committee will be Faculty Regent Barbara Burch, Secretary Cynthia Harris, President of WKU Alumni Association Julie Hinson, James Meyer, Student Regent Jay Todd Richey and Staff Regent Tamela Smith.

Newly appointed members of the search committee will be responsible for selecting three to five presidential candidates hoping to fill Ransdell’s position in 17 months after he steps down. 

The board also heard recommendations from Regent Chair Frederick Higdon to solicit the service of an executive hiring firm to select presidential candidates for the committee to review. The recommendation to accept proposals from search firms was approved unanimously by the board.

“It is the best practice for finding qualified candidates,” Higdon said during discussion of the recommendation. “Most executives are found this way. Search firms do a lot of the leg work.” 

The executive search firm would be tasked with cooperating with presidential search committee, in order to find 3-5 candidates for the office. 

The board of regents will ultimately decide the appointment of the new president by March 1, 2017. The next president will take office in July of that year.