By ERIN LEACH-KEMON
The University of Mary Washington’s Board of Visitors has hired the consulting group Greenwood and Associates to assist the Board in their search for the University’s next president. According to the school’s contract, Greenwood will be paid $92,500 plus travel and expenses.
Poole said the details of the search will be kept confidential, with no public forums or announcements of the finalists—unlike the 2006 presidential search. Instead, the Board will work behind closed doors with Greenwood and Associates and a Presidential Search Advisory Committee, and will announce the selection of a new president in March.
“We feel that publicly announcing finalists stops or discourages some excellent candidates from applying,” Poole said in his address to UMW faculty and staff on Aug. 23. “Our goal is to attract the highest-quality applicants and assure them of complete confidentiality.”
The search firm that assisted in the selection of terminated President William Frawley, Korn/Ferry International, offered to conduct a new search free of charge since Frawley, who was fired by the University last spring, did not serve for a full two years. The University would still have to cover additional expenses beyond the fixed fee. The University originally paid Korn/Ferry International $75,000.
But Poole said the Board thought it best to go with a different firm for the new search. “From a public relations standpoint, it would appear awkward,” Poole said.
History Department Chairman Carter Hudgins said he thought the Board’s selection of a new search firm was appropriate.
“My sense is that the Board feels pretty battered by this whole situation. Their confidence was shaken a little bit so that rather than do this on their own they’ve gone back to what feels safest,” he said. “We can’t afford to do it wrong again.”
Faculty members were divided in their response to the Board’s decision not to announce the Committee’s selected finalists, but to only release information once they have chosen the President.
“That doesn’t seem to me to be wise or possible,” said Philosophy Professor David Ambuel. “We would also expect that any candidates would want to come to campus and meet a wide range of people and become familiar with the campus.”
Anthropology Professor Eric Gable disagreed. “I don’t think public forums help necessarily…Having a public forum doesn’t mean you get the best person,” he said.
Stephen Fuller, Professor of Biology and President of the Faculty Senate approved of the Board’s decision. “I think it will make the pool of candidates larger and stronger since candidates who would not want their name made public will apply,” Fuller said.
Over the next several months, Greenwood and Associates will recruit candidates, perform background checks, and provide recommendations to a Presidential Search Advisory Committee, comprised of faculty members, the Student Government Association President, members of the Board of Visitors, and members of the staff, the Alumni Association, and the Foundation board.
The Board anticipates that the Committee will submit a list of three to ten candidates to the BOV for review by December or January.
Jan Greenwood, the President and CEO of Greenwood and Associates, formerly served as President of Longwood University in Farmville. She said she has conducted more than 700 executive searches, and the firm itself has conducted well over 1,000.
“We have over 97 percent repeat clients,” Greenwood said. “Our clients have been very, very happy with our work.”
Greenwood will meet with the BOV and the Search Committee at the Board’s September meeting to discuss the search process.
Acting University President Rick Hurley previously worked with Greenwood during his 17-year career at Longwood University. Greenwood explained that while serving as Longwood’s president, she hired Hurley for a position comparable to the one he held at UMW before stepping up as Acting President. Hurley has said he will not be a candidate for the position.
He declined to comment on the search process.
Poole also declined further comment on the search, beyond the Board’s official statement, which he read to the faculty and staff at the Aug. 23 meeting.
“All I can say is that this serves as an outline as to how we’re going to proceed,” he said. “When we get the process going I’ll be willing to sit down and go into more detail.”
On April 30, the Board announced their decision to terminate the University’s former President, William Frawley after he received two back-to-back drunken driving charges in April.
Frawley’s court dates are scheduled for Sept. 18 in Fredericksburg and Sept. 21 in Fairfax County.