The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review released an article in July revealing that Pa. universities have spent almost $1 million in presidential searches since 2010, with $117,744 of that total coming from SRU’s presidential search last fall.
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) media relations manager Kenn Marshall unable to confirm the exact amount of money that was spent, but he confirmed that the reported number sounds accurate.
According to Marshall, the search process lasts from six to eight months, so that sum of money is spread out over a large period of time.
The money is used in a variety of ways. For example, Marshall said that some money was used to hire a consulting company to help with the search and some of it went towards advertising the search in national publications.
Some of the money was used for background checks on the candidates and additional funds paid for travel expenses to bring the finalists to campus and to meet with the Board of Governors in Harrisburg.
Marshall said some of the money came from SRU and the rest came from PASSHE.
Although there have been recent cuts in funding for education in Pa., Marshal did not believe that had much of an effect on the budget of the search.
“Universities need presidents,” Marshal stated. “If there is an opening, it is important to be thorough and exhaustive in order to attract the best candidates in order to get the best possible president for the university. Presidential searches are very important to the university.”
Marshall justified the cost by explaining that this is not an annual cost.
“Hopefully when a president comes in he or she will stay for a number of years,” Marshall said. “It’s not an expense the university has to put out that often. Most of our presidents stay five to ten years, some stay even longer.”
Both the Vice President for Student Life, Dr. Constance Foley and the Vice President for Finance and Administration, Dr. Charles Curry, recently resigned from their positions, which means that two Vice Presidential searches will take place within this school year.
“Vice presidential searches are not nearly as costly as presidential searches,” Marshal explained. “Usually vice president searches don’t involve bringing candidates in to speak at public forums. There just isn’t as much involved in a vice presidential search as there is in a presidential search.”