Efforts to find a new President of the College have been underway since February 2018, according to the Chair of the Presidential Search Committee, Renee Buyck Romberger. In May, the College of Charleston hired the search firm R. William Funk and Associates to assist in finding Presidential candidates. The firm has placed many higher education officials at their current posts in many universities including, Clemson University, Cornell University, The Ohio State University, The University of South Carolina, and the University of Virginia among other institutions.
On Aug. 23 William Funk and his associate and Chairwoman Renee Romberger held a forum for College of Charleston students to explain progress and to answer questions. William Funk ensured students that the firm will “do everything we possibly can to make sure we [have] a diverse pool of candidates.”
Funk said his firm ran ads for the position in higher education journals including, Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook and others in an effort to attract a wide variety of candidates.
Funk also mentioned that just under 300 potential candidates were nominated for the position. Potential candidates were first contacted by mail, then by email, then by phone. The firm targeted about 150 applicants. Potential candidates were sent a “leadership statement,” derived from student listening sessions and faculty and staff surveys.
R. William Funk and Associates left the search committee with a list of about 130 active candidates to consider – above their 40-60 average. So far, the search committee has narrowed the list down to 28-30 candidates and has hope to narrow the list down to ten during their Aug. 24 meeting. Members have already submitted their “top ten lists” for President.
There is “strong diversity” in the pool of candidates, all with experience in higher education according to Romberger. Sitting Presidents, provosts and Deans from around the country are included on the list of 28-30. Romberger stressed that women and members of minority communities are well represented on the list, with politicians notably absent.
The Search Committee plans to conduct hour and a half long interviews for ten candidates in September. In October, the Board of Trustees will interview five candidates. Three finalists will be chosen and will have the opportunity to interact with various constituent groups on campus (including students) before a final determination is made.
Romberger said she hopes to have a new President announced in December who will take office in July 2019.