Presidential Search Committee Witt/Kieffer told a Murray State University’s Presidential Search Committee Wednesday that it would be best to keep the names and specific details of the search process confidential.
Witt/Kieffer Managing Partner John Thornburgh told the Presidential Search Committee keeping those details under wraps would open the pool to higher quality candidates who might not want their name announced publicly. Committee Chairman Pro-tem Harry Lee Waterfield said the regents want to bring the best candidates in and will consider Thornburgh’s advice.
“We feel there’s a trend nationally for really good candidates to want to not be in an open process where their name is battered about and we don’t want to limit the pool,” Waterfield said. “We’re going to try to find a way to have a process that’s open but maybe not as wide open as some in the past.”
Waterfield added that he understands Thornburgh’s proposed approach, but takes issue with a completely closed process.
“My first thought and comment to the search firm was it would put whoever we select in a hole and they’d be battling their way out of that whole with certain constituents that felt totally left out,” he said. “So we’re going to try to avoid anybody feeling totally left out but also try to find a way to get the best possible candidates.”
Waterfield added that the board will make a decision this week about the confidentiality of the search process. The committee also looked over a rough timeline of the presidential search with candidate interviews beginning in March.
Witt/Kieffer representatives are meeting with major groups on campus this week to gather information about the university’s needs for its next president.