STORY BY COURTNEY FISHMAN
The search to find President David Maxwell’s replacement is well underway with intentions of hiring his successor by the end of this semester.
After Maxwell publicly announced his retirement in a campus-wide email in March, two committees, the university campus committee and the nominating committee of the board of trustees, were appointed to begin the search.
“You’re looking for someone with an advanced degree, preferably a PH.D, although it’s not required, that’s the preference,” said AGB search consultant Jamie Ferrare. “We wanted folks who had administrative experience at a high level for a college or university or had very successful business experience. Those were the general characteristics we were looking for.”
AGB was hired in May to assist with the search and to help advertise the opening position. The pool started with 75 to 80 candidates, according to David Miles, chair of the nominating committee.
“Since Labor Day we’ve narrowed the list,” Miles said. I would say that eight to 10 range is where we are at this point.”
The Drake University charter outlines how committees are formed, who’s on the committees and how the procedures take place. According to the charter, the campus committee is the first to evaluate candidates and make a recommendation to the nominating committee.
The nominating committee then weeds through the candidates until they recommend a successor to the board of trustees to vote on.
“We liked when we saw people who had worked at a couple of institutions, and had a variety of experience,” said David Wright, university campus committee member and associate dean of the SJMC. “When you’re just at one place it’s very hard to say how you would adapt to the Drake Culture.”
In order to protect candidates, an open forum was eliminated from the selection process, and has created some backlash among students, faculty and staff.
“I hope that once folks look into the process and reflect on how it’s been conducted that they will come to believe, as we do, that all of the constituency in the Drake community have been well represented,” Miles said.
Wright was more hesitant about not opening up the decision-making process to the entire campus.
“I intend to go back to the board in the spring, after the search is over, and ask for a change in the charter,” Wright said. “If in the future we’re not going to have the open forums, and candidates aren’t going to be exposed to all campus, I think there needs to be broader committee participation and representation.”
Diversity is key for both a selection committee and Maxwell’s predecessor according to Wright.
“There is rich diversity in terms of women are in this pool, minorities are in this pool, which is a very positive thing,” Wright said.
However, the importance of diversity is not reflected in the university campus committee.
“Right now we don’t have any representatives from law, pharmacy or education, and that’s really unfortunate, Wright said. “I really expect to go back to the board, and see if we need to go back to the charter and change it.