Ohio University plans to have its next executive vice president and provost in place by July 1, according to a contract between the university and executive search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates signed on Tuesday.

The firm will work in consultation with OU President Duane Nellis and the appointed search committee to assist in appointing the new executive vice president and provost — a position currently held by former interim President David Descutner. 

The contract also puts forth a suggested timeline, which places the announcement of a new executive vice president and provost in April. Recruitment of candidates is tentatively set to begin in November and December, and interviews and background checks are set to take place in March.

The university will be responsible for interviewing the candidates and making the final recommendation to Nellis. 

Descutner was appointed to his current position in June, replacing Pam Benoit, who accepted a position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in May. He will have limited involvement in the search process, according to a previous Post report, but offered a bit of advice to his successor in August.

“Be prepared to learn a heck of a lot from President Nellis,” Descutner said. “And be looking forward to working with the deans and the staff here."

Storbeck/Pimentel hopes to recruit candidates from “underrepresented and unconventional backgrounds,” touting its commitment to diversity in the contract.

In 2016, the firm closed 76 searches. Of those, the firm placed 30 women, 23 persons of color and four people who are openly gay in leadership positions in higher education. 

“We are a woman- and minority - owned firm, and our staff and placements reflect the diverse world in which we all live,” the contract reads. “To achieve such results — consistently over the last several years — we strive continually for diversity in our candidate pools.” 

Storbeck/Pimentel partners R. Thomas Fitch and Jim Sirianni, as well as "the full search team” will work with the university to identify candidates.

Professional fees for the firm’s services are set at one third of the new executive vice president and provost’s first-year compensation, or at the firm’s minimum of $60,000, according to the contract. 

Additionally, a set of reimbursable expenses, which will be “billed at cost,” are projected to cost the university at least $25,550. Those expenses include an estimated $5,000 in travel for search consultants, $8,000 in travel for 10 candidates and more than $4,000 in press and social media checks. 

The university is also set to shell out at least $90,000 to Parker Executive Search Firm for its assistance in the search for a new vice president for university advancement and president & CEO of The Ohio University Foundation. Following the departure of Bryan Benchoff, Tom Davis was appointed to hold the interim position.



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