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Seeking a Presidency?

Seeking a Presidency?

Jamie Ferrare is principal of AGB Search and a senior vice president at AGB. Since 2000, he has led more than 100 searches for presidents, academic vice presidents, and deans. He is the co-author of A Complete Guide to Presidential Search for Universities and Colleges.

If your “bucket-list” includes a college or university presidency, I might suggest a few key steps as you prepare a strategy for launching your search. 1. Assess your personal strengths and weaknesses (yes, we all have them) and determine if you are truly ready to lead an institution of this kind and shape. 2. As part of your due diligence, carefully research the college or university to determine if this might be a good fit.

  • Is the mission consistent with your values and interests?
  • Do programs and curriculum align with your experience?
  • Is the institution in good financial condition, or at the very least, capable of supporting its mission in a meaningful way?
  • Is the institution located in a geographic area that is appealing to you and your family.

3. Take time to speak to individuals you trust who would have knowledge of the institution. 4. If the institution has retained a search consultant, seek their counsel prior to deciding if this is a search you will pursue. Among the questions for the consultant you might consider:

  • How stable is the institution?
  • How strong is the board of trustees, its chair, and the administrative team? What is the relationship with faculty and staff?
  • What was the result of the most recent accreditation report and what is the status of the strategic plan?

Gaining knowledge of an institution should help you to decide if this is “the” institution for you to pursue.

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