The Search for a New President
by Bryanne McDonough | published Sep. 1st, 2016
On July 26, 2016, RIT students met with representatives from Isaacson, Miller — an executive search firm hired by the university — to share the qualities they want in a potential president. The tone of the forum was very positive, with students sharing many stories about current president Bill Destler.
After introductions, Christine Whitman, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, discussed the search process. The first step was to form a search committee and name the chair, Brian Hall — the last chairman of the Board. The search committee is made up of 24 people involved with the university.
"We tried to make the committee as diverse as possible, representing all the colleges, all the constituent bodies of the university," said Whitman.
After the search committee was formed, the next step was to hire a search firm. An extensive interview and vetting process led to the decision to hire Isaacson, Miller. All six firms that were interviewed recommended an expedited search process — they hoped to select a new president early in 2017. Additionally, the search process will be largely confidential.
"We need to respect the confidentiality of all candidates," said Whitman. "When we get down to the final candidates, we are going to invite a small group of an extended search committee to participate in the interviews."
The student open forum was just one of many forums held on July 26. To do their job adequately, the committee needs input from everyone in the university.
"We're hoping that you will share your thoughts with us," said Vivian Brocard, president of Isaacson, Miller. "We understand that from your perspective, the president is somebody who has some real connection with the student body."
The students went around and shared what they liked about RIT, Destler and what qualities they were looking for in the new president.
"What I'd probably look for in the next president is someone with a substantial ... network," said one student.
One student discussed how Destler and his wife supported a new club with their own personal funds.
"What I'm looking forward to in a president is someone to continue some of the efforts that we have here, things like ImagineRIT, things that are going on in the MAGIC center," said another student.
One student expressed that it is important for the new president to push boundaries, continuing to create unique majors and events.
Ultimately, the students agreed that it was important to have someone who is involved in the RIT community, aware of the unique Deaf/hard-of-hearing community and is transparent about decisions and issues on campus.
"We are looking for ... as much of your advice as possible," said Whitman.
Students are encouraged to email suggestions to email@example.com. For updates on the search process, visit this website.