The 13-person presidential search committee expects to have a list of qualifications for the university’s next president by mid-July – one of the many tasks the group was built to handle.
The Board Affairs Committee was responsible for establishing the presidential search committee and selected Dr. John M. Morrison, Board of Trustee member, as its chairman. With that comes the responsibility of determining the search committee’s size and composition.
“Dr. Morrison sought and considered input from trustees, university leaders and executive search consultants regarding the appropriate size and composition of the search committee,” Sara Gross-Methner, St. Thomas general counsel and chief human resources officer said.
After discussions with the BAC, Morrison selected the eight other trustees to accompany him with the search.
“As it is the Board’s (of Trustees) responsibility to hire and supervise the performance of the president, trustees represent the majority of committee members,” Gross-Methner said.
The Rev. Dennis Dease announced his retirement Thursday, May 10. He will conclude more than two decades of his presidency when he steps down at the end of the 2013 school year. (St. Thomas website)
Doug Hennes, vice president of university and government relations, explained Morrison’s decisions were based on a variety of considerations including each trustee’s history of service to St. Thomas, previous leadership searches at St. Thomas or other educational or nonprofit institutions, and the group’s collective strengths and perspectives based on personal and professional backgrounds and experiences.
The Faculty Affairs Committee called for three faculty members on the search committee. More than 20 professors applied or were nominated according to Hennes. Morrison accepted the committee’s recommendations.
“All of the selected faculty members have strong academic and services records at St. Thomas,” Hennes said.
Morrison considered potential administrative staff members suggested by senior administrators and chose Dean of Students Karen Lange.
“(She) brings a valuable perspective based on her longevity at St. Thomas, her extensive work with students and understanding of the student experience outside the classroom, and her own experience as a doctoral student at St. Thomas,” Hennes said.
Why no students?
Gross-Methner said the significant time commitment makes student participation on the committee difficult. However, she said students’ opinions will be heard.
“We have looked for ways to ensure that student input and perspectives are reflected in the search process,” Gross-Methner said. “The committee welcomes and encourages student input.”
The committee includes four people who work with St. Thomas students on a daily basis in a variety of settings. Karen Lange and the three faculty members have a combined 90 years of experience with St. Thomas students according to Gross-Methner.
Students may continue to provide input to Witt/Kieffer at USTPresident@wittkieffer.com.
A list of the search committee biographies can be found here.
Kristopher Jobe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.