Thursday, September 5, 2019
Inside Higher Ed, Secret Searches and Faculty Fury:
In recent years one of the greatest points of contention between faculty members and their institutions’ governing boards has been over the board’s arguably most important function: the search for and the selection of a president to lead the institution.
Throughout higher education, campus stakeholders are increasingly disapproving of and speaking publicly about searches conducted by their institution. One of the more frequent complaints is the growing tendency of governing boards to conduct a “secret search.” In these cases, those involved in the process keep the names of any potential candidates under wraps until an appointee is announced, or in other, similar cases, boards announce a sole finalist who will meet with campus leaders and get to know the institution before being officially appointed.
However, as these instances and the faculty outrage that often comes with them become more frequent, some more recent searches where multiple candidates have been announced before the board votes have not been without significant controversy. ...
Oftentimes, representatives of executive search firms argue that the only way to recruit talented candidates for the presidency is by holding a secret search, due to the fact that many candidates wouldn’t allow themselves to face public scrutiny before a selection. Wilde said there has been no research supporting that claim.