Presidential search moves into active recruitment phase

In July, as Brock President Jack Lightstone enters the last year of his second and final term, the committee tasked with finding his successor will start to identify potential candidates.Advertisements have been placed in national media during June, and the executive search firm Caldwell Partners will be having discussions with individuals who could potentially be interested in pursuing the University’s top job.This active recruitment stage follows months of preparations in which the advisory committee held input sessions with the Brock community, then drafted a Mandate and Role Profile document setting out key tasks and priorities for the next president, as well as the experience and background sought in a successful candidate.As mandated in the Faculty Handbook, a presidential search at Brock is driven by a 12-member advisory committee representing stakeholders across the campus. The current committee consists of three faculty members, two students (one undergraduate and one graduate), a staff member, a librarian, a senior administrator and four lay board members. (One of the faculty members and the staff member are also board members.)To attract the strongest possible field of candidates, the advisory committee unanimously opted to use a confidential process, which is used for presidential searches at most Canadian universities. In this method, candidates’ identities are known only to the advisory committee, all of whom have signed confidentiality agreements. They in turn conduct the interviews and compile recommendations.Joe Robertson, past chair of the Board of Trustees who is also chair of the presidential search advisory committee, said senior university sector officials have indicated a vast majority of elite candidates will not pursue a presidential position unless the process takes place in confidence.Heather Ring, the search consultant for the Brock recruitment, said most shortlisted candidates for a university president search are not applicants who respond to advertisements. The search consultant’s role is to actively engage with and attract the best possible leaders to the opportunity.“One of the first questions the recruiting consultant hears is, ‘Is this an open or confidential process?’,” said Ring. “If the answer is ‘An open process’, the majority of potential candidates will not proceed with the conversation. Their reasons are many and varied, but what matters is that the pool of potential candidates becomes very small. In a finite market for academic leadership like the one we have in Canada, options become severely limited.”The advisory committee hopes to begin reviewing candidates this summer.As directed by section 3.2 in the Faculty Handbook, when a potential choice is tentatively selected, the search committee will consult with Senate at least two days before formally recommending a candidate to the Board of Trustees.

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