The committee tasked with picking a new president of Baker University has narrowed the field of candidates to nine and will be interviewing them into November.
The search committee started with 72 candidates to replace current President Patricia N. Long, who joined Baker in 2006 and announced in February that she would retire in June 2014.
Hoot Gibson, a Baker alumnus and, before joining the committee, chair of the university's Board of Trustees, said the initial pool was culled largely with the help of higher education consulting company AGB Search along with Baker's own outreach efforts.
Whoever is ultimately chosen to run the university will need an "entrepreneurial spirit" and have a firm grasp on modern models of higher education, Gibson said.
"Higher education has evolved dramatically over the last 15, 20 years," he said.
In a letter to the university, Gibson wrote that in whittling down the list of candidates from the initial 72, the committee "faced difficult choices as it reviewed the applications of a broad and deep pool of accomplished leaders and chose to advance a select group for initial reference checks."
The nine candidates that emerged from the initial selection process are flying to Kansas City for face-to-face interviews with the committee. Gibson said these interviews might "really change the scope of things dramatically."
Once the current round of interviews is through, the committee plans to narrow the candidates further to three finalists. Those finalists will be invited to campus for two-day interviews. "Every university constituency will be involved" in those interviews, Gibson said. That includes faculty, students, administration, coaches, alumni, Board of Trustees and the Baldwin City community.
From there the committee will send its recommendation, or recommendations, for a new president to Baker's Board of Trustees in December with the goal of naming the next Baker president by the end of the year.