Judith Wilde is analysis professor and James Finkelstein is professor emeritus within the Schar College of Coverage and Authorities at George Mason College.
That is the second of three items in a sequence they wrote analyzing modifications in the best way school presidents are employed. The primary is on the market right here.
In our earlier article, we reported on a change in the best way college presidents have been employed. Thirty years in the past, 1 / 4 of universities, principally personal, used an government search agency. At the moment, practically each governing board contracts with a search agency to help in hiring a brand new president.
We’re reminded of “Lesson Plan,” written by William Bowen and Michael McPherson. They write, “A well-qualified board must take an energetic function within the search course of and never be too depending on search corporations that will have their very own agendas.”
Few governing board members have expertise in increased schooling, apart from having gone to school. On condition that nearly each governing board has outsourced its latest presidential searches to the manager search trade, we wished to study extra about who leads these corporations. Our assumption was that these people would compensate for the substantive experience and expertise trustees lack. We’re sharing our findings right here for the primary time.
First we would have liked to establish the highest search corporations within the increased schooling sector. Hunt Scanlon Media, which payments itself as “essentially the most broadly referenced, single supply for data within the human capital sector” publishes an inventory of the highest 50 increased schooling recruiters. As well as, the American Council on Schooling Govt Search Roundtable has about 20 present members, each nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
We started establishing our pattern from these two lists. Whereas there was some overlap, a number of of the most important search corporations weren’t members of the ACE Roundtable, and smaller members of the Roundtable weren’t on the Hunt Scanlon checklist. To handle this shortcoming, we added a Hunt Scanlon high 50 checklist of all recruiters — not simply these on its increased schooling checklist — and the Forbes 2021 Finest Govt Recruiters checklist. To be included within the pattern, a agency needed to be on a minimum of two of those 4 lists.
We collected knowledge for 22 leaders at 21 search corporations. We recognized the leaders of corporations that had been completely or primarily centered on increased schooling and the principals of the upper schooling practices within the massive multi-area corporations. Utilizing company biographies and LinkedIn pages, we decided every particular person’s highest educational diploma, degree-granting establishment, and first self-discipline; years of expertise within the expertise acquisition trade and in increased schooling; and gender and race. For these with increased schooling work expertise, we recognized place and size of service.
Whereas holding a terminal diploma typically has been a requirement for college presidents, solely seven of the 22 search agency leaders held doctorates. Of the rest, eight held an undergraduate diploma and 7 had a grasp’s diploma. Comparable numbers graduated from public versus personal establishments.
We might establish the sector of levels earned by 21 search agency leaders. Probably the most generally earned levels had been in schooling, earned by seven members of our pattern. There have been 5 business-related levels, 5 within the social and behavioral sciences, and 4 within the humanities. This latter group included levels in Victorian literature, inventive writing, English, and French language and literature.
We recognized just one Black search agency chief. Whereas among the many least skilled within the government search trade, he was one among solely two people who had been a president, provost, dean, and tenured school member. He additionally had spent extra years in increased schooling than any of the opposite search executives. We recognized no different search agency executives who weren’t non-Hispanic white. The bulk, 15, had been ladies.
Maybe an important and troubling discovering was how few of those leaders had increased schooling work expertise of any kind.
- 5 leaders at 4 corporations had been college presidents.
- Two leaders had been presidents, provosts and deans.
- Six leaders had labored in growth, alumni relations, pupil housing and/or admissions.
- One chief had served as an government assistant to a president.
- Three leaders appeared to have held tenure.
- One chief taught as a contingent school member.
So, whereas 10 of the corporations can declare that their senior government has some type of increased schooling expertise, in reality solely 4 of those are led by a former college president.
This knowledge describes solely the people main these corporations and practices. We acknowledge that many corporations have a number of search consultants who lead and employees particular person searches and who could have increased schooling expertise. Nonetheless, the shortage of upper schooling expertise amongst these leaders was an sudden discovering.
Ought to we be involved?
Keep in mind the cautionary story of John Sculley at Apple. Whereas he was thought of by many to be a advertising and marketing genius, he got here to Apple from Pepsi with no expertise in excessive know-how. Throughout his tenure, Apple grew in dimension, however Steve Jobs departed and a variety of new merchandise failed, finally resulting in an almost 85% decline in income and important layoffs. Sculley was compelled to resign in 1993.
Or they keep in mind the tech government who was a president at Google, Margo Georgiadis, who then grew to become the CEO of Mattel and lasted solely 14 months. Or take into account Eddie Lampbert, the hedge fund supervisor who grew to become chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings. That story did not have a contented ending both.
So, ought to we be involved that the corporations to which governing boards have outsourced their single most necessary duty — appointing a president — are led by people with little expertise in increased schooling?