• April 18, 2018

Report on the Search Process

Report on the Search Process

Report on the Search Process 150 150 Presidential Search

TO: The PLU Community
FROM: Susan Caulkins and Michelle Ceynar, Co-Chairs of the PLU Presidential Search Committee

Dear Campus Constituencies:

We are writing today with an update from the Presidential Search Committee. We appreciate that this process seems mysterious at times for those who are not closely involved in the search process. We appreciate how thoughtful and engaged our colleagues from all corners of campus have been in this process and feel grateful to belong to such a vibrant and caring campus community.

In the week before Spring Break, the Committee held open forums for various constituencies on campus. Approximately 125 people participated across the 6 forums. Members of the Search Committee were present to lead discussion and to listen to conversations. We asked for a scribe to take notes from table conversations and recorded the ideas shared to the larger groups at each forum. During the open forums, participants considered 2 sets of questions:

Thoughts about the PLU Community

  • What are several specific Opportunities & Challenges that currently face Pacific Lutheran University?
  • What distinguishes our institution from our peers? Who do you consider to be our peers? Our aspirational peers?
  • Please describe the current culture on campus (e.g. level of trust between faculty, administration, and board, morale, faculty engagement, student attitude about the value of education at PLU, transparent culture, quick changing or evolving culture, etc.).

Desired Characteristics of the next PLU President

  • What are the key leadership characteristics you would like to see in our next President?
  • What kind of experience would you like to see this President have in their background that would give you confidence that this individual would be the right leader?

There were many common themes among open forum sessions. For example, notes from the 2 questions at the forums about desired presidential characteristics and experiences were coded and the word cloud below illustrates the most frequently mentioned characteristics and values across all open forums.

Word cloud

Presidential Characteristics & Values
Articulated in Campus Open Forums (3/19 to 3/22/18)

All of the notes from the forums were collated and shared with the full Search Committee and with Paul Chou, our lead Search Firm Consultant, prior to his visit to campus. Paul and his associate, Vickie Antolini, came to campus in the week following Spring Break and met with various campus leadership groups and other stakeholder groups including community leaders, alumni and ECLA pastors. Through these meetings they learned more about what it means to be a Lute and what the community of PLU is looking for in our next leader.

Paul told us this about his visit to PLU:

We felt warmly welcomed, and happy that people did not hold back their feelings about their work, expectations, and about the culture. We appreciate the spirit in which the university operates – in the spirit of “inquiry, service, leadership and care.” We also appreciated the real engagement of the constituent body, and certainly felt that people truly care down deep for this school. It is this passion, engagement, and willingness to evolve in a relevant way that will keep PLU going for centuries to come. We are honored to have the opportunity to work with PLU and are anxious to get in the market.

In collaboration with our consultants, the Search Committee is working on finalizing the Presidential Profile. Once approved by the Board of Regents, this profile will be used to help recruit a diverse candidate pool over the summer and into the fall. Please understand that the profile is only one tool for recruiting a pool of candidates. Our consulting firm, Korn Ferry, has national and global connections and our experienced consultants will be reaching out to hundreds of people, including nominations they receive from the PLU community, to personally tell them about the opportunity here at PLU. Although candidates will be given the profile to read, they surely will be doing their own research on PLU’s website, starting with the Presidential Search webpage that is currently being constructed by our highly capable Marketing and Communications team lead by Associate Vice President, Lace Smith.

The recruitment work over the summer and fall will be primarily done by our consultants. Formal advertising will begin toward the end of summer when the next academic year is gearing up.

We will be in touch again as the search progresses. In the meantime, if you have nominations, Korn Ferry has a dedicated email account to gather input: plu-president@kornferry.com.

Please feel free to direct comments and concerns to the Presidential Search Committee through the co-chairs: