Leadership Interviews: Anticipate the Inevitable Tough Questions

By Sheila Murphy

  • “Should we become a sanctuary campus?”
  • “Do you believe we have achieved gender equity in higher ed?”
  • “What’s your position on inviting extremist speakers?”

As a long-time academic as well as executive search consultant, I’ve noticed how highly charged and over-simplified questions often surface in candidate interviews with search committees, campus leaders, donors, students or even the media. Some of these questions have…



The Shifting World of AMC Deans and Department Chairs

As academic medical centers feel more pressure to change and to serve students and communities in new ways, new types of leaders are needed. In this interview, Karen E. Otto, managing partner and practice leader, Academic Medicine & Health Sciences, considers the implications for AMCs and executive recruiting.

Question: What’s happening around the role of a typical clinical department chair or dean? Are the responsibilities of leadership expanding in…



Why Doctors Make Good Healthcare CEOs

Healthcare is looking for more CEOs who are physicians. A pertinent question, therefore, is whether physicians generally make good CEOs. And if so, what are the considerations around hiring a doctor to lead the entire organization? In the Q&A below, senior partner Kimberly Smith, FACHE, considers the issues.

There are more physician CEOs today than in years past. Are they generally successful or do results vary significantly from one to another? What factors are at play?

Smith:



David J. Cook, MD: Leadership Is a Time to Learn

 

For David J. Cook, MD, MHA, FAHA, life is about learning. Learning, he says, comes from seizing upon opportunities for new experiences that force him outside of his comfort zone. Dr. Cook holds a B.A. in Biology and Philosophy from Lehigh University, an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee, and an M.D. from Jefferson Medical College, with residency and fellowship training at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He was an anesthesiologist and faculty member at Mayo who…



Insights into Recruiting a College President

 

Witt/Kieffer senior partner Dennis Barden recently chatted – via the Google Hangouts video service – with Higher Ed Live’s Rob Zinkan about the recruiting of college presidents in this time of great challenges within higher education. Having participated in dozens of presidential searches in recent years, Barden had plenty of insight to share over the course of the 45-minute interview.

Today’s college presidency is such a tough job, Barden notes, that it’s almost “irrational” that individuals would pursue it. Those…



Higher Ed Job Candidates: What Do The Best Have In Common?

By Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D.

Sometimes described as a “dog-and-pony show” or likened to speed dating, the interview process for senior-level executives in academia is demanding and often imperfect. After many years in higher education, first as a campus administrator and now as a recruiter, I’m no stranger to either side of the search process.

Recently I had the opportunity to share thoughts on The Best Higher Education Search Committees in an article for the Chronicle of Higher Education. It…



Physicians in the C-Suite: Demand Continues to Outpace Supply

 

The growing number of clinicians making their way to the C-Suite — to Chief Medical Officer, Chief Clinical Officer, and other roles — has been noted many times here on the Witt & Wisdom blog. (See, for example, “Health System Leadership: Seeking Physician Executives with Business Acumen.”) This trend is not slowing down and was the focus of the cover story of Health Leaders Magazine’s May issue. Kudos to that publication for a lengthy, well-researched,…



Chief of Staff: A Much-Needed “Right Hand” for Healthcare CEOs

By Andrew P. Chastain

Healthcare CEOs are experiencing an expanding workload as the industry continues to change, making it challenging to “steer the ship while scanning the horizon for threats and opportunities.” It is unrealistic to think that one person can capably juggle all the responsibilities while serving a wide range of constituents. One solution for CEOs is to engage a chief of staff to serve as their “right hand.”

Though common in politics and the corporate world, a chief of…



Veteran with Vision: A Profile of Reggie Pearson

 

For Reggie Pearson, the climb to the executive suite in healthcare – and his current position of Vice President of Operations for MedStar Georgetown University Hospital – had its roots in military service. Since that time, Pearson has learned about the importance of vision in leadership. (“Nothing great has been achieved without vision,” he says.) He has also learned that the vision and skills of one person will not translate to success without the collective energy and skill of…



Perception Isn’t Always Reality: Recognizing Gender Differences in Interview Styles

 

By Robin Mamlet

Women in higher education leadership roles often find themselves alone at the top with few, if any, female peers. The reasons for this are many and complex. Of the many factors that limit women from moving up in the ranks, two should be easy to resolve: how candidates present themselves in job interviews and how search committees interpret those interviews.

I sit in on a few dozen interviews for academic president, provost, or cabinet-level positions every month, and…