University scores search firms for chancellor

By Samantha Jones Toal

Search committees are typically formed by faculty members to ultimately determine a list of candidates to suggest to the administration. Different search firms are also brought in to lend logistical support to external searches.

Douglas Beck, former co-chair of the search committee for University president, said the search firms were chosen with little or no input from the presidential search committee.

“The University maintains a list of prequalified search firms, they provide a proposal for a given search and then those proposals are typically adjudicated by the next higher level in the administration,” Beck said.

Proposals from the search committee are suggested to the president’s office in the case of the chancellor search and Board of Trustees in the case of the president search.

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University spokesman, Tom Hardyss, confirmed that there is a list of approved search firms under the Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative (IPHEC) contractss.

A diverse group of firms are listed under either administrative, academic or medical categories.

The list allows the University to select a firm without issuing a Request for Proposal or Request for Information.

However, Hardy said the process has changed since the selection of the new athletic director.

“We can no longer pick anyone from the list,” he said. “We now have to use the firms in order of their scores for each category.”

According to the IPHEC website, the highest ranking vendor by category will be selected first unless unable to perform and then the next highest ranking vendor will be selected.

Hardy said after a request for proposal is made, firms respond with a technical proposal that highlights why they would be the best fit to work with the University on selecting the next president, athletic director or chancellor.

A committee then reviews the technical proposal and the search firms’ scores are allocated. A purchasing official at the University reviews the price proposal and it too is scored. The scores are combined, and the Request for Proposal respondents are ranked by score, Hardy said.

For certain specialized positions, it may be necessary for a participating university to request an informal proposal from awardees in a category. These vendors have agreed to extend their offer to other universities in the University of Illinois system. The category of athletics was not awarded in this Request for Proposal.

In the case of the ongoing chancellor search, Antoinette Burton, chair of the search committee, said Greenwood/Asher & Associates’ role is to help with the search process by providing logistical support.

“They have contacts in the world of higher education,” she said. “But we the committee, are really the drivers of the search.”