Columbia College hires national firm for presidential search

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 | 7:07 p.m. CDT; updated 8:28 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 7, 2013

COLUMBIA — The selection process for the next president of Columbia College is set to be complete early next year after a national search firm was hired to assist in the search.

Academic Search, based in Washington, D.C., will help the college presidential search committee build a pool of applicants fit for the position, committee chairman John Yonker said.

The search committee was appointed in January, and the decision was made in mid-April to hire Academic Search as the research firm.

"We reach out to and encourage people to apply that may not be looking at advertising for the position," Academic Search president Jessica Kozloff said. "We're not a corporate head hunter. We work hard to create a large pool and then assist the search committee in narrowing it down."

The decision to hire the search committee came four months after current president Gerald Brouder announced he will retire, effective Aug. 1. Brouder's tenure as the 16th president of the college began in 1995, and last week he was honored with "emeritus" status by the college Board of Trustees.

Terry Smith, now executive vice president and dean for academic affairs, will serve as interim president until the next president of Columbia College is named.

The two Academic Search consultants that will assist the search committee, Carrie Besnette Hauser and Charles Kupchella, made their first visit to Columbia College last week.

"This preliminary visit is to help us understand our clients better," Kozloff said. "The more we know about the campus and culture, the more we can judge who will serve as the best fit in that role."

By the first week of June, the consultants will send a position description to the search committee, Yonker said. Over the summer and fall, the firm will provide the description to applicants all across the country. The priority deadline for applications to Academic Search is Oct. 1.

"In early January, we will make our recommendation to the Board of Trustees," Yonker said. "Three to four people will come to campus to interview. We should have a new president by the end of January or first of February."  

But before the presidential search picks up steam, Brouder will give his final commencement speech on Saturday.

The first ceremony will be held at noon and the second at 3:30 p.m. in the Southwell Complex Gymnasium at Columbia College. Students graduating from the nursing program will be recognized at the Nurses’ Pinning Ceremony at 2 p.m. in Launer Auditorium.

About 7o associate degrees, 419 bachelor’s degrees and 51 master’s degrees will be awarded, said the college's public relations coordinator, Jeff Branscom.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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