The SRU Council of Trustees recently submitted their list of members for the Presidential Search Committee to state system Chancellor Frank Brogan for approval.
Kenn Marshall, spokesperson for the state system, said the earliest that a new president for SRU would be Jan. 2018.
“Most searches take about 6 months from the point that SRU is at right now,” Marshall said.
Marshall said this means that an interim president will likely be appointed by the board once President Norton steps down at the end of June. Marshall said one issue affecting the search is that two other universities in the state system, Bloomsburg and Shippensburg, are also conducting searches for new permanent presidents.
“It’s difficult, it’s more challenging to run multiple searches at the same time and timing is an important issue,” Marshall said.
Marshall said the pool of candidates takes time to put together, as it has to be representative of the whole campus community. The committee is in charge of developing a job description for the position, as well as deciding on what they are looking for in a new president.
“You have to think very carefully about where your university is today, and where you want it to be in 5 years and 10 years and what kind of leader you need to achieve that,” Marshall said. “It’s a very complex process just to get it up and running, but if you don’t do the work in the beginning then you’re not going to have a successful search. It’s essential to do that if you want the end product to be someone of the caliber of Dr. Norton. I think a lot of people would say that if Slippery Rock can find someone of that caliber to succeed her then the search committee would have done an outstanding job.”
Marshall said that as the university gets closer to Norton’s retirement the situation will be assessed and if an interim or acting president is needed, the university can hire one or use the university’s order of succession, which would mean that SRU Provost Philip Way would be next in line.
The search committee is partnering with search firm AGB Search (Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges) to help find the new president for SRU. According to a press release from SRU, AGB Search “focuses exclusively on higher education leadership, conducting executive searches fro college and university presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans, university system heads and CEOs of coordinating boards and related foundations.”
Marshall said that the search firm generally charges a percentage of the president’s salary to help conduct the search and that a lot of the cost is covered at the system level rather than the university itself.
The full list of the members of the search committee can be found on the SRU website.