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Firm hired to find next leader of state university system

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On Nov. 9 a group of local legislators, businesspeople and others toured the under-construction Lombardo Welcome Center at Millersville University, one of 14 schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which is looking for a new chancellor. The center will house the university's admissions, sustainability and several other administrative departments. Crews hope to finish construction in January.
On Nov. 9 a group of local legislators, businesspeople and others toured the under-construction Lombardo Welcome Center at Millersville University, one of 14 schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which is looking for a new chancellor. The center will house the university's admissions, sustainability and several other administrative departments. Crews hope to finish construction in January. - (Photo / )

Pennsylvania's 14 state universities have hired a search firm to look for their next chancellor, a leader who will be tasked with overseeing a reorganization of the system

The firm, Wheless Partners, will work alongside a search committee made up of board members from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, as well as student, staff and faculty representatives.

The search is open-ended but is expected to last about six months, said Kenn Marshall, a spokesman for the state system.

Wheless will earn 29.5 percent of the winning candidate's first-year salary, Marshall said. It also will be reimbursed for costs associated with the search.

The former chancellor, Frank Brogan, earned $345,000 per year, Marshall said. He retired in September.

The state system has been led since then by an interim chancellor, Karen Whitney, who is president of Clarion University, one of 14 schools in the system.

Based in Birmingham, Ala., Wheless has experience working for colleges and universities, as well as Fortune 500 companies, private equity firms, government organizations, public and private institutions and entrepreneurial startups.

In its work for the state system, Wheless will help gather stakeholder input, craft recruitment materials, and actively identify and recruit potential candidates for the position.

The search committee will screen candidates and conduct the initial round of interviews. The full board will participate in the final round of interviews and vote on the selection.

The state system search committee includes

  • Cynthia D. Shapira, board chairwoman and chair of the search committee
  • Harold C. Shields, vice chairman of the board and co-chair of the search committee
  • David M. Maser, vice chair of the search committee and chair of the board's finance, administration and facilities committee
  • Thomas S. Muller, chair of the board's audit committee
  • Ryan Long, president of the Student Government Association at West Chester University
  • Laura Delbrugge, a faculty member and chair of the Foreign Languages Department at Indiana University
  • Donna Wilson, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania

Among the challenges awaiting the next chancellor is implementing changes outlined in a recent strategic review.

"It took real forethought and courage to do the system review, and it will take equal amounts of innovation and determination from our next chancellor to accomplish the system redesign process," Shapira said in a statement.

The state system universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester. 

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Joel Berg

Joel Berg

Joel Berg is editor of the Central Penn Business Journal. Born in Philadelphia, raised in Northern Virginia and now living in York, he's a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and the University of Maryland. Have a question or story idea? Email him at jberg@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JoelBYorkPa.

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