Goodwin to lead search for new WVU president

By The West Virginia Record | Sep 13, 2006

Steve Goodwin

Berger

Farmer

CHARLESTON -- Charleston attorney Steve Goodwin, chairman of the West Virginia University Board of Governors, announced the search committee that will help select WVU's next president.

The announcement was made at the Sept. 8 meeting of the WVU Board of Governors. The 17-person committee includes Kanawha Circuit Judge Irene Berger and Stephen B. Farmer of the Charleston law firm of Farmer Cline & Campbell.

Goodwin, of the firm of Goodwin and Goodwin, also announced that one of the premiere presidential search firms in the country will assist the committee in the selection process.

The Board initiated the search following current president David C. Hardesty Jr.'s recent announcement that he will retire next year, effective Sept. 20, 2007.

Goodwin will chair the search committee, which is charged with screening applications and developing a list of candidates for campus visits and consideration. The WVU Board of Governors will make the final selection, and plans to complete the process sometime in late spring.

"The search for the next president of WVU is an extraordinarily important job," Goodwin said. "The University's current success and prominence demand strong, effective leadership, and the committee will help to guide the national search for a president of top caliber."

According to Goodwin, the search committee represents members of WVU's many constituencies, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, and supporters. Besides Goodwin the committee will include Berger, Dr. Julian Bailes, Elizabeth Belch, Dr. James Brick, Meg Bulger, Joe D. Campbell, Dr. Thomas Clark, Dr. Parviz Farmouri, Steven B. Farmer, Ron Justice, Douglas J. Leech, Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, John T. Mattern, Terry Nebel, Joan Corson Stamp and Robert Wells.

"The committee includes a broad and deep representation of the many facets of WVU," said Goodwin. "The full university community - from faculty to students, from staff to administration, from donors to alumni - will have a voice in this endeavor."

Goodwin said the Board today approved R. William Funk and Associates as the search firm to assist the committee.

"William Funk is a nationally-recognized expert in executive recruiting, and has helped to recruit and place the current presidents of many of the country's flagship and land-grant universities," Goodwin said. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Funk has "recruited nearly a fourth of the sitting presidents of the nation's top 60 research institutions and nine of the presidents of Big Ten systems or their flagship institutions."

"The search for the president of a major university is extremely competitive," said Goodwin, "and the expertise of a seasoned search executive like Funk will greatly assist the committee and the Board in identifying and recruiting the very best candidates."

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) Chancellor, Brian Noland, will offer guidance and support to the committee as well. "Dr. Noland's expertise will be a truly valuable asset to our success," said Goodwin.

The presidential search will begin by reaching well beyond the search committee and the Board, according to Goodwin. The committee will initiate the process later this fall by conducting interviews with diverse groups across the campus community to determine the skills, characteristics and experience necessary to lead WVU in the years ahead. The committee will then develop a position description and a set of criteria based on its research.

Goodwin says the committee will advertise and recruit nationally, and estimates that it will take several months to establish a pool of qualified candidates.

"We will move immediately to begin the search," he said, "but we will not rush the process of finding the best possible candidates. Once we've established our pool, we plan to interview candidates in early spring."

The WVU Board of Governors will make a final selection following the on-campus interviews. Goodwin says the Board plans to identify a new president by late spring - in time for the new president to make a transition to Morgantown in mid-summer and begin a new tenure in September 2007.

"Every member of the committee understands the scope of the responsibility we have been given," Goodwin said. "And we are all committed to making the best possible decision for the future of West Virginia University."

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