Faculty members of presidential search committee announced, student and administrative members yet to be determined


As the DePauw community eagerly awaits its next president, the committee charged with the job of finding them is just beginning to form.

On Aug. 31, Pam Propsom, professor of psychology and chair of the Faculty Governance Committee, announced via email the four professors that will serve on the presidential search committee.

Howard Brooks, professor of physics and astronomy, Jeff Kenney, professor of religious studies, Caroline Smith, professor of music and Karin Wimbley, assistant professor of English, will represent the faculty throughout the search process.

The excellent pool of candidates represented diversity in terms of years of service, curricular area, gender, ethnicity, committee service and other university activities,Propsom wrote in the email. We believe we have chosen a faculty group that is balanced, will contribute positively to the group effort and will bring a variety of experiences and perspectives to the task at hand.

Michele Villinski, professor of economics and management agrees.

I think the faculty members that have been chosen are really thoughtful people, are really capable of representing the faculty as a whole,said Villinski. I have a lot of trust in them that they will do a great job. I was really pleased when I saw the list of people who were chosen.

The search for DePauw Universitys 20th president is chaired by trustee Kathy Patterson Vrabeck 85. Joining Vrabeck and the four faculty members will be 10 members of the Board of Trustees, including search chair and Chairman of the Board, Marshall Reavis.

As stated at the faculty meeting on Sept. 7, the committee will also include students. The number of students is yet to be revealed.

Two administrative members will round off the committee. At this point, no students or administrative members have been selected for the committee.

Villinksi, who is also the director of the Management Fellows Program, is glad students will be included in the committee.

Students become alums, and our alums are incredibly dedicated,she said. I think a lot of students are capable of taking a longer-term view of things. I really value the student perspective.

According to a document titled Presidential Search Processprovided by Professor Brooks, an external search firm will assist the selection committee. The firm will filter resumes and information about candidates to provide to the committee.

Kenney, Smith and Wimbley were unable to comment on the committee at this time.

Once the committee is fully formed and active, the search will be closed,meaning all candidates will remain confidential throughout the selection process. Brooks explained that no details about the candidates or their affiliations can be disclosed. Brooks also said the Board of Trustees may never know the candidates until the later stages of the selection.

On Sept. 7, faculty members split up into break-out groups to talk about qualities they want to see in the next president. A summary of the feedback will be sent to the committee for consideration.

In Villinksis break-out group, the faculty decided they want someone with a strong moral compassand an understanding of the value of the liberal arts education.

[We want] somebody who can communicate well with all the various stakeholders and relate well to students, faculty, staff and alumni constituencies,Villinski added.

Brooks feels that this committee will run the same way as when we picked [President] Casey.He has never served on a committee at the institutional level, but he described the selection process as intense.

The committee and search firm will finalize a leadership profile just after the October Board of Trustees meeting. In November, in-person meetings will be held in Indianapolis over a couple days to finalize the candidates. First-round interviews will be held in December, and subsequent interviews will follow in January and February.

The next President of DePauw University will be decided not by this search committee, but instead by the Board of Trustees. At the conclusion of the search the search committee will present their recommendations to the Board of Trustees. They will then vote and announce the new President in the spring of 2016.

Its a time of transition, of course, but its a time of real opportunity,Villinski said. I think were all going to miss President Casey, but times like this happen periodically in the life of a university. Its an exciting time, even as it is a time that can be a little stressful. Im looking forward to seeing what the year is going to hold.