Truman searches for new president

The search for a new permanent University president is underway, with the Truman State University Presidential Search Committee finalizing plans for the entirety of the process this academic year.

Truman has been operating with an interim University president, former Provost Sue Thomas, since July 1, after former University President Troy Paino announced his move to the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, last semester. Following that announcement, Truman’s Board of Governors established a Presidential Search Committee, led by co-chairs Cheryl Cozette, Board of Governors secretary, and Debra Kerby, dean of the school of business.

The Search Committee briefly recapped its first meeting, which took place Aug. 6 and included discussion about confidentiality requirements for the search process, according to an email update sent by the Presidential Search Committee to the campus community. The Board agreed on a desired appointment deadline of March 2017 and planned to start collecting campus input at meetings with Jessica Kozloff and Eric Richtmyer, consultants with Academic Search — a search firm for higher education leadership positions, according to the email. These meetings took place on campus Aug. 30 and 31 and provided forums for faculty, staff and students to discuss the search process firsthand.

The Presidential Search Committee now plans to finalize an advertisement for the position and begin recruiting through Academic Search by mid-September, according to the same email. The campus can expect to hear about semi-finalists for the position before the semester break and the Search Committee plans to schedule neutral-site interviews after the spring semester begins, according to the email.

Following semi-finalist interviews, the Presidential Search Committee will select three to five finalists for interviews with a to-be-established Stakeholder Advisory Committee, according to the email. The committee would replace open campus meetings and forums and will draw from University faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members.

Sarah Burkemper, Board of Governors chair, said the reasoning behind the Stakeholder Advisory Committee lies in the University’s desire to keep the presidential search process confidential. Burkemper said open campus meetings could cause complications for potential candidates with their current positions. She said this final part of the search process will be the biggest difference between Truman’s last big administrative hire, when Thomas was hired as provost in 2015.

“Having those open forums would not allow us to have the biggest and best pool of candidates,” Burkemper said. “Many people would not want to enter a search if they knew that they would have open forums that then could be out on social media. Their current employer could find that out.”

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