May 18, 2023
A message from Lynda Ellis, Chair of the St. Mary’s University Board of Trustees, and Mickey Schott, Chair of the Presidential Nominating Committee:
We want to express our appreciation to everyone who participated in giving us input about the aspirations of the University and the characteristics and attributes needed in the next president. The information collected from you through the electronic surveys and listening sessions informed the drafting of the presidential profile and leadership prospectus. The document will help recruit potential applicants, guide the search firm in their conversations with candidates, and inform screening by the Presidential Nominating Committee.
The document, approved by the Executive Committee of the Board and the Corporation, soon will be ready to send to education leaders and prospective candidates nationwide. Announcements of the position will also be posted in several national publications. The goal is to attract a strong and diverse pool of potential candidates; that work will begin in July and continue through the early part of the fall semester.
Because of St. Mary’s success under President Mengler’s leadership — exceeding expectations with The Defining Moment Comprehensive Campaign and initiatives to raise the University’s visibility as a leading Catholic institution — we believe the position of president will be attractive to many already in leadership positions, including sitting presidents. For this reason, the Executive Committee of the Board approved conducting a “private-representative” process for finalist candidate interviews.
Recruiting the best and most experienced candidates requires a confidential and transparent process. Traditionally, the search process is entirely confidential (private) regarding the identity of candidates until the finalist stage, at which point their identities are made public. Increasingly, colleges and universities are moving from public finalist interviews to either a completely private format or a hybrid. In recent successful presidential searches, the University of Dayton and the University of the Incarnate Word used non-public models for finalist interviews.
In the “private-representative” model, individuals representing key University groups will interview finalist candidates. The Presidential Nominating Committee will collect the private-representative group’s feedback for their assessment report to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. We believe this approach balances candidate expectations around confidentiality with the need for various stakeholder groups to engage with and provide insights about the finalists. The Executive Committee, with the approval of the Corporation, will recommend a finalist candidate to the Board of Trustees for the appointment. The Board of Trustees is responsible for hiring our next president.
Early in the fall semester, the Presidential Nominating Committee, with the assistance of the national search firm Academic Search, will begin reviewing résumés and conducting preliminary rounds of interviews. The process is moving forwarded as planned to announce the new president’s appointment by the end of 2023, with a starting date of June 1, 2024. The early announcement provides time for transitioning the new president into the position before President Mengler retires from the University on May 31, 2024.