In addition to a 13-member Trustee Presidential Selection Council and an 18-member Presidential Search and Screen Committee, Penn State officials have selected an executive search firm to help in the search for the 18th Penn State University president.
The university selected the firm Isaacson, Miller from a pool of potential professional firms, Vice President for Administration Tom Poole said.
Poole said he worked as the executive secretary for the Trustee Presidential Selection Council to help choose a firm.
He said Isaacson, Miller was the best combination of a firm with a good track record and an experience in working with universities to find presidents. According to a press release, the firm also conducted searches for the presidents of Dartmouth College, Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania, among others.
Poole said the firm would help the council solicit input from the broader university community by holding public meetings, surveys and interviews. He said these meetings and conversations would then help the council identify attributes it feels are necessary in candidates, as well as help build an institutional profile for Penn State.
As people are nominated for the position, Poole said the firm will help the council do initial screening and decide who to move to the finalist list.
“We are in the very earliest stages,” he said. “In time and in the next few weeks, we hope to have a website that will be active, so folks can keep track of our progress and have access to the kinds of documents we’re sharing with potential candidates. And it’ll be a way for us to keep in touch with the broader community to let them know how the search is progressing.”
Penn State Spokeswoman Lisa Powers said via email that the firm has a “vast professional network and experience in recruiting top leadership.”
“We plan to rely on their experience,” Powers said.
She said this is the first search for a university president since 1995 and the 18th time the university has named a president in the history of the university.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson has said he plans to retire no later than June 30, 2014, as previously reported.
“This is a monumental and critical task that requires a level of skill and knowledge of the current marketplace to attract the best potential candidates for Penn State,” Powers said.
According to the release, chair of the Trustee Presidential Selection Council Karen Peetz said the council asked the firm to identify traditional and non-traditional leaders who could lead the university.
Peetz said in the release that one of the first orders of business for Isaacson, Miller will be to gain input from the Penn State community through public meetings, survey and focus groups.
“We will find a person who will lead Penn State to even greater accomplishments,” Peetz said in the release.