This is the eighth in a weekly series called Bobcats by the Numbers comparing Ohio University to the other five Mid-American Conference universities in Ohio.
Ohio University is not the only university in Ohio that has used the search firm Witt/Kieffer to help find its next president.
Of the six Mid-American Conference universities in Ohio, the University of Toledo also used the firm when selecting its current president. The university paid $120,000 for the firm's services. Bowling Green State University used Witt/Kieffer to hire a previous president in 2008, but used Heidrick and Struggles to hire their current president, Mary Ellen Mazey, in 2011. The contract for the Heidrick and Struggles firm was $120,000.
The six MAC universities in Ohio include OU, Miami University, Bowling Green, Toledo, Kent State University and the University of Akron.
OU’s Board of Trustees announced during its June meeting that the search firm would be Witt/Kieffer, a Chicago-based executive search firm that specializes in “providing outstanding leadership solutions to organizations committed to improving the quality of life,” according to the firm’s mission statement.
Witt/Kieffer is partnering with OU’s Board of Trustees to assist the search committee in finding possible candidates to become OU’s new president. The search committee is made up of 21 people, and OU is paying the firm $150,000 to help with the search.
OU’s Board of Trustees will make the final decision on the next president. In OU's presidential profile, the university lists valuing diversity and being visible and approachable as some of the qualities it hopes to have in a new president.
Jenna Shroyer, a sophomore studying marine, freshwater and environmental biology, said she wants OU’s next president to be “open-minded.”
“I love OU because it’s so diverse and different and wants everyone to be themselves, and I don’t want somebody that’s going to come in and backtrack everything,” Shroyer said.
She wishes the search committee was more transparent with the public about applicants and a time frame.
“This isn’t high school where you have to go here. I pay to go here,” Shroyer said. “I chose to be here.”
Sharon Gaber is Toledo's current president, and she was hired in 2015. Toledo's search committee included 20 members.
Previously, OU hired A.T. Kearney Inc. to assist with the search when OU President Roderick McDavis was selected as president in 2004.
The 21-member search committee includes students, faculty, deans, trustees, staff, administrators, alumni and Athens residents.
Taylor Brokaw, a junior studying communication sciences and disorders, said she wants the next president to be more involved.
“He used to be around when he lived on campus, but not anymore so maybe someone who wants to live here (on-campus) and interact with students,” Brokaw said.
Austin Gebers, a sophomore studying outdoor recreation and education, said he wants the next president to interact with students.
“(They should) be part of the student (community) and grab lunch with them sometimes,” Gebers said.