Presidential Search Enters Confidential Phase

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The search for a new president of Goucher College began in October of last year, after an email was sent out to the student body from Ruth Lenrow, chair of the Board of Trustees. Since then, a Presidential Search committee was formed. The committee is comprised of student representatives Marissa de La Viez ‘19 and Josiah Meekins ‘19, faculty members Phong Le ‘03, Jamie Mullaney P ‘22, and Gillian Starkey, two staff members, Jennifer Pawlo-Johnstone, Executive Director of Alumnae/i Engagement, and Andrew Wu, Associate Dean of Students Director of Athletics, and 11 trustees. Lisa Stromberg ‘83 and Miriam Katowitz ‘73 chair the committee. (For more information on the members of the search committee, see https://www.goucher.edu/explore/leadership-and-vision/presidential-search/committee.)

On December 9, de La Viez and Meekins hosted a listening session aimed at receiving student input on who the future president could be, and the values our community expects them to embody.

In a message posted to the Presidential Search page of the Goucher website on December 18, Stromberg and Katowitz noted that “Isaacson, Miller has been engaged to manage the search process. Isaacson, Miller is one of the most highly regarded national executive search firms. Rebecca Swartz and Chloe Kanas will serve as the firm’s co-consultants and will provide the counsel for the PSC’s work throughout the course of the search. The profiles of the firm, the consultants and their support team can be found on the Goucher College Presidential Search website.”

According to the “Schedule of Listening Sessions with Isaacson, Miller,” posted on the Presidential Search page of the Goucher website, a second meeting took place at 3 p.m. on January 22 with “Goucher Student Government officers and representatives.” An hour later, there was an “[o]pen forum for all students, Buchner Hall, Alumnae/I House. A livestream will be available.”

When asked via email why these listening sessions were conducted during winter break, Stromberg and Katowitz noted that, “[a]s you may know, our search consultant is headquartered in Boston and comes to meet with us in Towson at certain times. We were able to schedule a visit to campus at a time that worked for the consultant and the other constituent groups (alumni, faculty, administration, and board members) during January term. We made the decision to add a listening session for those students who were on campus during January term because the consultant would already be on campus. We recognized that not all students would be available on the January 22 date, hence we offered a live-stream opportunity.  We added an additional listening session on January 31, during the first week of the spring semester. Please note that the on-line survey was also available during this time.”
“It is important for us to keep the process moving forward and by holding four listening sessions for students (before break, two sessions on January 22 and again on January 31), versus one listening session for the other constituent groups, we hoped to get as many students involved as possible,” Lenrow added.

When asked a follow-up question of if the livestream was available online, Katowitz and Stromberg stated that, “[t]he listening sessions held on January 22 were one time confidential discussions for those in the room or on-line.  They were not posted on a public site or platform.”The online survey mentioned was open until February 8. In a February 15 email interview with The Quindecim, Rebecca Swartz, Partner at Isaacson, Miller, was asked to describe the survey results and number of responses received, as well as a breakdown between students versus faculty versus staff versus alumni. She was also asked, “[w]hat were variances in the written data from what information you received through the listening sessions?” In response to these questions, Swartz said of the survey results: “[a]bout 250 individuals participated in the community survey. Over 80 students responded, about 55 faculty and staff, and over 100 alumni and broader community constituents. Note that about 15 individuals did not indicate which group they identify with. Given the rich mix of respondents, a variety of perspectives were voiced in both the survey and the listening sessions (the latter of which was held with staff, faculty, students, alumnae/I, the Board of Trustees, and senior leadership). The most profound thread through them all is the shared, fierce dedication of this community to this institution and deep care for its future.”

While the next step of the search process is confidential, Swartz noted that, “[w]e and the search committee have synthesized our learnings into a comprehensive document called a ‘position profile’ which provides a picture of Goucher and the current institutional moment; and most importantly, it outlines the challenges and opportunities that the next President must lead Goucher in tackling. A final version of this document, which is a public document and which we will use in our recruitment of candidates, will be made available in the coming days.”

The Quindecim will post the position profile as soon as it is made available.

Neve Levinson is a junior majoring in Spanish and American Studies. They enjoy playing frisbee, reading the news, and learning about peacebuilding processes around the world. As the Editor-in-Chief of The Quindecim, they intend to document and address the many changes taking place on campus. What other pieces of news need to be covered? Want to write about it? (Or just tell them about it?) Email Neve at nelev001@mail.goucher.edu.

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