Update from Presidential Search Committee – March 29, 2017

Following recent campus forums, Search Committee Chair Wes Elingburg provides an update on Elon's presidential search to the campus community

Dear members of the Elon community,

Thank you for participating in recent forums on campus and completing the survey regarding the search for Elon’s ninth president. I write to provide you with an overview of themes from the survey responses and campus forums, as well to update you on the Trustees’ most recent actions regarding the search and the Search Committee’s next steps.

Survey Responses

The Board of Trustees’ Presidential Search Committee is reviewing survey responses from more than 6,900 alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, retirees, and friends of the University, including more than 2,000 comments about the search. Among the high priority issues for the next president, themes included maintaining emphases on academic program quality, scholarships and affordability, institutional reputation, diversity and inclusion, and strategic planning.

Survey respondents shared a preference for candidate qualities such as strong personal values and ethics, a friendly and approachable personality, a global and inclusive perspective, and the ability to be a strategic thinker and visionary. Mirroring the broad range of duties required of a university president, stakeholders expressed interest in a variety of prior executive experiences, particularly the creation and implementation of a strategic plan and building of an institutional brand. We heard from campus constituencies that experience in higher education is highly desirable. These responses will be analyzed further by the Search Committee and will also be used to create a position prospectus, describing the University and outlining the qualities desired in the next president.

Feedback from Forums

On March 14-15, Elon faculty, staff, and students had opportunities to share their thoughts about the search at forums led by representatives of our executive search firm, Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates. Managing Partner Shelly Weiss Storbeck, Partner Julie Tea, and Associate Anne Koellhoffer, gathered a great deal of input that is being shared with the Search Committee.

Many of the comments focused on President Lambert’s excellent leadership over the past 18 years. Campus stakeholders hope to continue that legacy with a president who listens well to all constituents, understands the integral and complex roles of faculty and staff, and who can help the institution continue making progress on a range of goals from academic excellence to inclusion to affordability. There was significant discussion of Elon’s unique institutional culture, the centrality of the arts and sciences in each undergraduate student’s education, the value of the professional schools, our strong community built upon personal relationships, the priority on engaged learning, and the advantages of being a residential liberal arts university. Along with the survey results, the forum input will be analyzed more deeply and integrated into the position prospectus.

In response to feedback raised at the forums about campus representation on the Search Committee, the Board has elected to add one final non-trustee member to the group. Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Research on Global Engagement Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler P’16, P’17 has accepted an invitation to join the Search Committee.

Following the campus forums, the Search Committee held its first meeting on March 15. The committee has created and posted an advertisement of the position in major higher education publications. A detailed position prospectus will be published via the search website in April at www.elon.edu/presidentialsearch.

Additional Feedback

A university’s presidential transition is a time of anticipation and can also be a time of uncertainty about the impacts of a change in leadership. I can assure you that the Board of Trustees has a deep commitment to and appreciation for Elon’s mission, values, commitments, and trajectory. We believe this transition is an opportunity to affirm our exciting plans for the future through the choice of Elon’s ninth president. Please continue to share your thoughts and suggestions with members of the Search Committee (presidentialsearch@elon.edu). Your continued interest, support, and involvement will be critical to our success.

Thank you again for your feedback and for all you do for Elon,

Wesley Elingburg P’11
Elon University Trustee
Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Information and announcements about Elon’s presidential search can be found at www.elon.edu/presidentialsearch.