No New Updates on Search for 29th President

Rachael Franchini ’19, Editor-in-Chief

The Presidential Search Committee “doesn’t really have anything [to] add” to the Jan. 4 email sent to the Dickinson community concerning the search, which is the most recent update on the process, according to Karen Faryniak ’86, Chief of Staff and Secretary of the college.

The main form of communication between the search committee’s proceedings and the Dickinson community thus far has been emails sent on a roughly monthly basis by Jim Chambers ’78, Trustee and Chair of the search committee.  In May, the members of the committee were announced.  In July, the first task of finding an executive search firm partner was completed with the selection of Isaacson, Miller.  In an update sent on Aug. 29, the search committee continued developing a comprehensive plan for the firm to gain an accurate picture of the campus and its community.  The October update reported success from the “listening sessions” between the consultants of Isaacson, Miller and the Dickinson community.

The Jan. 4 email states that the search continues to be “on pace in the process of selecting our 29th president.” As of that date, Chambers maintained that the committee is “moving to the in-person preliminary interview phase.”

Chambers describes the search committee as taking a “hybrid” approach to finding a candidate for the position.  In this approach, the original search committee will be expanded for the finalist interviews.

The finalist interviews will take place towards the end of the search process and will include 16 more Dickinson community members, including several faculty members, additional members of the president’s staff, Vice President and Dean of Student Life Joyce Bylander, Vice President for Enrollment, Marketing and Communications, Stefanie Niles, Vice President for College Advancement Kirk Swenson, and Student Senate President Savanna Riley ’17.

Despite this expansion, the presidential search remains “confidential,” Faryniak states.  In the email, Chambers attributes this secrecy to the finalists’ reluctances to make their candidacy known to the community and beyond, which could potentially “compromise their positions and relationships on their own campuses or within their businesses or other organizations.” 

Many Dickinsonians and community members are interested in the search process, and Faryniak maintains that “I hope that … the campus community can appreciate the need to keep the process as confidential as possible, particularly as we move into the later stages of the search.”

Faryniak also stated that Chambers will share the update on the process “as soon as he is able.”