Trustees hire search firm for presidential search

The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees agreed today to engage the services of AGB Search Inc. of Washington, D.C., to help direct a national search for the university’s next president, a process that the board hopes can be completed in an expeditious manner.

Board Chair Sudershan Garg said Jamie Ferrare, senior vice president of the Association of Governing Boards and principal of AGB Search, will be the lead consultant for the YSU search. Since 2000, Ferrare has led more than 100 searches for university and college presidents and other academic officers.

“We are pleased that Dr. Ferrare will be personally assisting us with this important process,” Garg said. “While we did not expect to be back in the business of searching for a new president so soon, we are confident – and most importantly, Dr. Ferrare and AGB Search are confident – that we will be able to attract a high-level pool of quality regional and national candidates.”

Last week, Randy J. Dunn, after only seven months on the job, gave the YSU Board of Trustees notice that he will resign as president effective Aug. 16, 2014. AGB Search was employed by the board last year to conduct the search that resulted in Dunn’s appointment. Since Dunn was on the job less than a year, AGB Search is contractually required to conduct a new search without a fee. The fee for the last search was $65,000. The university will be responsible for other expenses of the search, including travel costs.

Garg emphasized that university policy requires a national search be conducted for the position of president. “It’s an important process, a process that allows the entire community to meet with and to question candidates, a process that allows applicants to fully evaluate the position, and a process under which consensus can be built to identify the best individuals possible for the job,” he said. “Given that we just went through this process a year ago, we believe it is possible to move through this search in a relatively expeditious manner.”

Meanwhile, Garg also announced that YSU will move forward with the search for a new provost, the university’s chief academic officer. Provost Ikram Khawaja is retiring June 30. Garg said the presidential and provost searches will take place on parallel tracks. The hope is that the presidential search will be completed first, in time for the president-elect to have input on the hiring of the new provost. Chet Cooper, president of the YSU Academic Senate, has been appointed to chair a 15-member search committee to lead the provost search.

“It has been a challenging several days for the Board of Trustees and the campus community,” Garg acknowledged. “We thank everyone for their patience, especially YSU faculty, staff and students who have remained singularly focused on their work in these trying times. We have several critical decisions before us. While we appreciate the importance of acting as quickly as possible, we will be deliberate and thoughtful in our actions.

“YSU is a strong, progressive institution with talented faculty, dedicated staff, hard-working students, supportive alumni and a 100-plus year history of producing successful graduates who are making their marks across the world. We look forward to identifying leadership who will join us in building upon that tradition.”