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Picking a president with PASSHE

By - Last modified: September 24, 2012 at 2:15 PM

The long process of selecting a new president for Millersville University is now fully in gear.

The presidential search committee's deadline for applications was Sept. 1. University spokeswoman Janet Kacskos said the committee plans to reveal the names of finalists in October, when it brings them on campus for public meetings.

The goal is to have a new president appointed by the end of the year. Dr. Francine McNairy, who has been president of Millersville since 2003, gave the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education a year of notice that she will retire Jan. 30, 2013.

After the committee and trustees select three finalists, the decision moves to the PASSHE chancellor and board of governors. The board has been responsible for the decision since PASSHE's creation; before that, Marshall said, the governor appointed those university presidents (see "Filtering through the candidates," this page).

The board has many significant duties, including setting tuition every year, but PASSHE spokesman Kenn Marshall said he has heard many members say presidents are the most important decision they make.

They can reject all three and require the process to start all over again, Marshall said, but in 15 years he does not recall that happening. However, if any of the final three withdraw, the board usually asks that the search be reopened so it can choose from three finalists.

According to Millersville's search documents, the president is the school's CEO and should, among other things, be skilled at advocacy, relationship-building and fundraising; sharpen Millersville's brand; and lead a recent initiative "for transformative actions to meet changing higher education paradigms."

Searching by the numbers

Average length of search: 6 months minimum

Average cost of search: $100,000

Recent searches: 4 completed this summer (Edinboro, East Stroudsburg, Slippery Rock and IUP); 2 in progress (Millersville and Mansfield); 1 upcoming (California)

Source: Kenn Marshall

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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