Presidential search nears completion

Western Today staff

Sue Sharpe, a WWU trustee and the chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, send the following note to all students, faculty and staff this morning, apprising them of the status of the search for a president to replace Bruce Shepard, who is retiring from Western at the end of the school year:

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff of Western:

The search for a new president for Western Washington University is in the home stretch.

I am so pleased to share this update with the Western community.  The Presidential Search Advisory Committee (PSAC) has now concluded its work and has recommended candidates for further review by the WWU Board of Trustees.  That review will be taking place in the next couple of weeks and our goal is to have a new president named in early April.

Your members on the PSAC did a remarkable job of representing the interests of Western stakeholders through a process that began four months ago and in the end resulted in over 150 hours of service mostly on nights and weekends.  This group of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and community members are a true reflection of what makes Western great…its people. The PSAC was steadfast in its focus on the criteria that was developed by the Board of Trustees, a criteria that was crafted last fall through listening sessions, focus groups and surveys with Western stakeholders. Their work has produced a diverse group of exceptional finalists, each whom possesses the vision, enthusiasm, and interpersonal skills to advance Western`s stature as a vital publically purposed university in the 21st century.

The vetting process by the PSAC to reach the group of finalists included the recent interviews of 18 candidates from an initial pool of more than 75 applications.  Those interviews came on the heels of earlier PSAC meetings at which it evaluated the credentials of all candidates against the criteria developed by the BOT. WWU`s consultants at Greenwood Asher built this pool of candidates through 411 separate contacts, including direct recruitment, responses to ad postings, and following up on nominations received from on and off campus.

As we shared in an earlier message, our pool of 75 candidates had a strong representation of diversity, one which exceeded national averages.  It included current university presidents and provosts from across the country, candidates from other public comprehensive universities like Western, public university systems in other states, and reputable private universities.

We are indeed in the home stretch.  Much work needs to be done by the Board of Trustees as it now does its due diligence in identifying the best finalist to be the next president of Western Washington University.

We would not be in this position with our finalists if not for the tireless and unselfish work of the PSAC on behalf of the Western community. They displayed the highest level of integrity, professionalism and thoughtfulness through an intense and challenging process. We all owe them a great debt of gratitude for their commitment to our shared goal…finding the next great president of Western.

We will continue to keep you posted on the Presidential Search website over the upcoming weeks as the process continues to unfold.


Sue Sharpe
Chair, Presidential Search Advisory Committee

Friday, March 11, 2016 - 10:32am

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