The first “cut” or elimination of candidates for the chancellorship of Kansas University has been made.
The next step is for remaining candidates to be interviewed May 13-15 with the goal of selecting a final candidate sometime in June.
It is good the search process is moving ahead at a reasonable speed, but, according to several individuals with knowledge of the process, some on the search committee are disappointed at the quality of the candidate pool.
If this, indeed, is the case, it is extremely serious and those on the search committee, as well as the professional head hunter, are shortchanging the university, its faculty and students, as well as the state.
It also is reported the investigation or “vetting” of some candidates, at least to this date, has been shallow, very shallow. As an example, in regard to one hopeful, it was reported there were several obvious individuals who should have been, but were not, contacted to check on the history or ability of the candidate.
It is hoped that search committee members are not relying too heavily on the head hunter firm because these companies maintain catalogs of individuals looking for jobs, individuals who might be suited for a chancellorship, and dig through these files whenever they land a new client.
As has been mentioned before, the success of the effort to find and hire a truly outstanding chancellor rests primarily with the commitment, diligence, vision and hard work of those on the search committee to recruit, not just “search” or review résumés supplied by the search firm.
Once several outstanding individuals have agreed to be a candidate, then it is incumbent on those doing the interviewing to be totally honest about the current climate on Mount Oread, the major issues that divide many, the debate about the proper balance between academics and athletics, etc. It’s hoped candidates will ask deep, probing questions to minimize any chance of misunderstanding or lack of knowledge about critical issues.
There is a hunger among a sizable percentage of KU faculty members for a leader who will stimulate and enthuse, a leader with vision and courage, a leader whose primary goal is to build the institution into one of true leadership and excellence in teaching and research, and a leader who will be effective and stimulating in telling this story to faculty, students, alumni, friends and legislators.
It’s a tall order, but this is what the university and those associated with it deserve. Anything less will be the fault of those on the search committee. If they are not superior recruiters and salespeople, KU will have missed a rare opportunity and the blame will be placed at the feet of those on the search committee.