The Presidential Selection Committee expects to select a search firm to help in its presidential search at its Oct. 29 meeting, according to Carl Carlson, chairman of the committee.
The Board of Regents approved delegating the authority of selecting a search firm to the committee at its meeting last Thursday. The committee then sent invitations to approximately 40 firms on Friday.
“We received 11 proposals back, and so we’re familiar with some of those,” Carlson said. “And so we need to go through the process of reviewing every proposal.”
According to Carlson, there was previous discussion among the committee on whether to use a search firm or a search consultant.
“Search consultants typically have been presidents of universities,” Carlson said. “They understand the role of the president of the university. And so as a consultant, they work directly for the board or for the search committee, so really they’re our team, our guide.”
The committee conducted a search for search consultants to get an idea of what they did.
“Then when we looked at the cost of doing this, and one of the ideas of finding a consultant was we want to manage our cost. That’s very important; we want to keep those costs down, and when we looked at the proposals and what services they could provide, between using their services and the cost of that as well as paying another firm to provide some administrative services that the consultant didn’t do, it adds up to about the same as a firm,” Carlson said.
In the end, the committee decided on using a search firm, according to Carlson.
The search firm will help the committee identify what the president’s role should be as well as assist in recruiting and vetting applicants.
“They’ll learn about the culture of our university, a little bit about the culture of the state itself,” Carlson said. “And so help us put together, pretty much, a job description, if you will, for the president, and while we may think we have that already, it would be good to get that assistance from them.”
The search firm will also develop a search calendar for the committee.
“Once we get the firm on board and we get the calendar set, because there’s a cost to the firm, once we get the firm on board we want to try to stick to the calendar if we can,” Carlson said.
According to the university’s invitation to submit proposals to provide executive search services, search firms are required to have at least five years of executive search experience, a track of working under and meeting tight deadlines, a strong network of candidates, and strong interpersonal and organizational skills.
The last search firm that was used in the 2009 presidential search cost around $120,000, according to Carlson.
“And I’m not saying that’s what it’s going to be; that’s what it was,” Carlson said. “And I’ve seen ranges higher than that and lower than that. But the key is to get the right firm.”
The Board of Regents will be continuing its community outreach, with events currently scheduled for the next month.
“We’ll continue these gatherings through that search process because each gathering we learn another little pearl from somebody,” Carlson said. “Or we get reinforced with various concepts that people have given us.”
For more information on the presidential search and to see the schedule of community meetings the board will attend, go to hawaii.edu/news/category/governance/presidential-search.
CORRECTION:Oct. 25, 2013