“Nontraditionals” as College Presidents: What Can Be Learned from Controversy?

Much has been said and written lately about the prospects of “nontraditional” candidates for college presidencies. There have been successes and failures in recruiting presidents from outside of education – from the corporate, government, and even military sectors. One recent high-profile controversy and resulting departure of a CEO-turned-president has many education leaders signaling the end of these experiments.

“Don’t carve that epitaph into the marble quite yet,” writes…



Leadership Candidates: Have You Done Your Research?

By Joyce De Leo

The tools and methods that executive search firms use to research candidate backgrounds are extensive – from thorough reference checks to academic degree verification to review of applicants’ social media history. Leadership candidates must do equal due diligence on potential employers. This is an idea I discuss in a recent article for HigherEdJobs entitled, “Your Next Leadership Position: Dive Deep…



What Aspiring VPs of Advancement Need to Know

The day-to-day responsibilities of an advancement officer in higher education are expansive, and growing. Of course fundraising skills are a major component of what makes a successful advancement officer, but there are countless other essential talents – including leadership ability, strategic thinking, and political savvy, to name a few.

Dennis Barden, a senior partner in Witt/Kieffer’s Education practice, has recently published two articles that…



What It Takes to Be a University President (a Second Time)

Cevallos 3Javier Cevallos, PhD, recently left a 12-year tenure as president of Kutztown University to take on the top job at Framingham State University. How did he know when to go? What pitfalls stood in the way at Framingham State? When does the honeymoon of a new presidency end?

Cevallos shares thoughts in a new Witt/Kieffer Leader Profile, “A College Presidency: The Honeymoon and Beyond.”…



Recruiting Business School Deans: Business-Savvy Leaders Wanted

By Lucy Leske

Leske, Lucy 110x135From declining enrollment to competition from online programs, business school deans have a lot on their plates today. Some deans are concerned about growth and expansion, while others fret over their schools’ survival and sustainability. Candidates for b-school leadership are expected, more than ever, to present a wide range of skills acquired inside and outside the traditional walls of academia.

In a recent…



College Presidents Talk About Athletics: Where Does the Buck Stop?

By Greg Santore

In a recent article for Forbes.com, columnist Jason Belzer and I explore the complicated relationship between university presidents and their athletic departments. As we note in the introduction, college sports are extremely lucrative today. In 2014, football revenues alone brought in more than $3.4 billion. Even at smaller institutions, the success of sports teams greatly influences overall institutional spirit and success.

Leadership of each athletic enterprise rests in the hands of one person: the president (not…



A New Breed of College President, a New Way of Recruitment

By Lucy Leske, Managing Partner

College Presidential Search GuideIn a few short years, the dynamics of the presidential search in higher education have changed dramatically. Institutions still seek exceptional leaders with proven academic credentials, credibility, and experience, but only if there is also potential – to be creative and entrepreneurial, for example, and to manage change, risk, and disruption. Oftentimes this means bringing in leaders from outside the academy. The landscape has…



Barden’s Best: Sage Advice for Academic Candidates and Search Committees

The CASE Leadership Summit is in full swing in Chicago, marking one of the social and intellectual highlights of the year for advancement leaders in higher education. A Witt/Kieffer contingent including senior partner Dennis Barden and consultants Zachary Smith and Mercedes Vance will be on hand for the proceedings.

Barden is not only one of our firm’s most experienced search consultants (in advancement…



Severance Practices for College Presidents: Survey Results

By Lucy Leske, Education Practice LeaderMercer Cover

Compensation and benefit packages for college and university presidents attract considerable attention, especially among presidents themselves. While there is plenty of information available on cash compensation for presidents, there is little on severance.

In response, Witt/Kieffer and the global consulting firm Mercer have partnered to conduct a survey of severance practices for the chief executive position (President or Chancellor) among nonprofit colleges and universities…



Higher Ed Leadership: A Dozen Recent Reads & Resources

By Lucy Leske

Higher education is going through a time of powerful adjustment, in which institutions feel more pressure than ever to prove the worth of a degree, keep tuition in check, maintain graduation and placement rates, and to take better care of students (from athletes to assault victims). Amidst the constant, accelerating pace of change, college presidents and other higher…