Update on Bryn Mawr’s Presidential Selection Process

Posted December 5th, 2013 at 12:05 pm.

The following email was sent to faculty, students, and staff by Secretary of the College Ruth Lindeborg on behalf of Trustee Leadership Working Group Chair Ann Logan ’76 and Vice Chair Patrick McCarthy, Ph.D. ’81, on Monday, Dec. 2.

Dear members of the Bryn Mawr community:

We wrote to you in October to inform you that the Board of Trustees of Bryn Mawr College had formed a Leadership Working Group (LWG) whose charge is to recommend to the Board of Trustees a candidate to become the next President of Bryn Mawr.  The Board of Trustees asked the LWG to consult broadly with the Bryn Mawr community to identify the qualities we should seek in a president and to consider the process for leadership succession.The LWG is broadly representative of the Bryn Mawr community and includes:

Ann Logan’76, Trustee and Chair
Patrick McCarthy Ph.D. ’81, Trustee, Co-Chair
Jessica Hollinger Vinson ’08, Staff Representative
Laurie Friedman GSSWSR, Graduate School Representative
Lisa Merrick ’14, Undergraduate Representative
Peter Beckmann, Faculty Representative
Maria Cristina Quintero, Faculty Representative
Alison Cook-Sather, Faculty Representative
David Karen, Faculty Representative
Charley Beever HC ’74, Haverford Board of Managers Representative
Eileen Kavanagh ’75, Trustee and President of the Alumnae Association
Elizabeth Warren ’72, Trustee
Georgette Chapman Phillips ’81, Trustee
Sandy Baum ’72, Trustee
Susan Jin Davis ’86, Trustee
Arlene Gibson ’65 ex officio, Chair of the Board of Trustees

The LWG invited all members of the Bryn Mawr community to share their views on the College’s strengths, challenges, and the attributes the next president of Bryn Mawr should possess given its history, challenges, strengths, and strategy for the future.  We heard from many of you:  faculty, staff, students, alumnae/i, parents, emeriti trustees, former presidents of Bryn Mawr, past and current presidents of other colleges including Haverford and Swarthmore, and current trustees.  This input is critical to the process of making a recommendation to the Board on a candidate, and we welcome your continued comments and questions.

There is broad agreement among all constituencies that our greatest strength is the academic rigor for which Bryn Mawr is known in our graduate and undergraduate programs. As the president of another institution said:  “Bryn Mawr is associated with a style of woman:  smart, strong, independent; with women who make an impact on the world in a powerful way.”   Many noted the excellence of our faculty and our teacher-scholar model. Our Tri-Co relationships and the proximity of the University of Pennsylvania also were often noted as advantages. There was agreement that under Kim Cassidy’s leadership the campus community is moving forward, although there is concern about the number of interim members of the senior staff and the impact that has and will continue to have.

There also was broad agreement on our challenges:

  • Continue to attract, enroll, and retain diverse, passionate, and an intellectually gifted group of women to the undergraduate college and continue to attract graduate students of high academic promise and growth to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.
  • Secure the long-term sustainability and growth of the financial resources necessary to fulfill our mission and continue to strengthen our financial foundation.
  • Convey to external audiences the promise of a liberal arts education in the 21st century and how Bryn Mawr’s unique strengths and potential can prepare young women to take up leadership throughout the world.
  • Build on Bryn Mawr’s rich history and storied success, further strengthen the fabric (academic and residential) of a thriving community of engaged scholars, and harness the passion and devotion that all parts of the community feel for Bryn Mawr.

The input we gathered from the community has been instrumental in helping us to determine the process we should follow.  Our goals in selecting a process were several:  to recommend an excellent candidate to the Board; to have both the community and external observers trust the process by which we made the recommendation; and to minimize the time it will take to make our recommendation.

The community was clear that the selection of the next president should be as thoughtful and thorough as possible.  To that end, the LWG considered various approaches to selecting the next president.  We have recommended to the Board, and they have agreed, that Bryn Mawr should undertake a quiet and targeted search.  We are now in the process of finalizing a profile of the College and the attributes the candidate for the position should possess.  Once this profile of the college and the candidate is completed we will have a benchmark against which to measure the qualifications of any candidate. We will share this profile with the entire campus community once it is finished.

We have engaged the search-consulting firm Witt/Kieffer to assist us.  The search firm and the LWG will identify qualified candidates from a national pool.   Candidates who meet our criteria, as established by the LWG, and who are interested will then be invited to meet with members of the LWG.  Their interest in the position will be confidential and will not be known outside the LWG.  Our goal is to recommend a candidate to the Board in early 2014.

The LWG’s recommendation and the Board of Trustees’ decision about the next leader of Bryn Mawr are critical to the future of the College. We are grateful for the leadership of Interim President Kim Cassidy, the strong faculty and staff at Bryn Mawr, and the terrific undergraduate and graduate students who make the College such a special place. Thank you for your ongoing engagement and support.

We appreciate your contributions and advice and remain open to your reflections, suggestions, and questions at any time.   You may continue to share these with the LWG by contacting our chair Ann Logan at leadership@brynmawr.edu.

Sincerely,

Ann Logan and Patrick McCarthy on behalf of the Leadership Working Group

Filed under: president,Trustees Tags: by mgray

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