Presidential Search

Information and updates from the 2014-15 Presidential Search
Find below the community updates provided by our search team during 2014-15, resulting in the selection of Dr. Jonathan Gibralter.
Wells College Seal

April 27, 2015

TO: Members of the Wells College Community
FROM: Marie Chapman Carroll, Trustee
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
SUBJECT: Presidential Search -- and Welcome -- update

Dear Wells community:

With thanks due to those who served with me on the Presidential Search Committee, we have successfully concluded the Presidential search. As we move forward and prepare to welcome Dr. Jonathan Gibralter to Wells College and the greater Aurora community, we have in place a multi-faceted transition effort that includes both an operational focus and a broadly-representative "Welcome Committee."

We have recruited a Welcome Committee to help assure that the community is introduced to the President and that Dr. Gibralter is appropriately introduced to the College's various constituencies. I will remain on board to chair this effort. The Committee will kick off its efforts with a meeting later this week and members will both seek suggestions prior to our regular meetings and report back afterward.

In general, we expect that the Welcome Committee will contribute to efforts as follows:

  • Helping to assure that all of the College's stakeholders have the opportunity to welcome and "get to know" Dr. Gibralter
  • Identifying existing opportunities for welcome events and suggesting additional events
  • Event planning, preparation and execution, as called upon, including staffing events and helping to provide follow-up to planned events and other activities
  • Preparing for and participating in a spring inauguration
  • Serving as liaison with represented stakeholder constituencies by seeking input from and keeping constituencies informed

The Welcome Committee includes faculty, staff, Senior Staff, Trustees, students, alumni and members of the local community. Having receive confirmation of membership from the invitees, the committee roster is below.

As always, if you have questions or suggestions, please let me know at 75mcarroll@gmail.com. I look forward to sharing additional news and updates as we move ahead.
 

Wells College Names Dr. Jonathan C. Gibralter 19th President

See the Presidential Announcement and a video greeting from Dr. Gibralter.
 

January 19, 2015

TO: Members of the Wells College Community
FROM: Marie Chapman Carroll, Trustee
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
SUBJECT: Visits to the Campus by Presidential Finalists

As you know from my previous reports on behalf of the presidential search committee, the final phase of our recruitment effort includes an invitation to select candidates to visit the campus. The committee met last Thursday and Friday, January 15 and 16, and interviewed eight semi-finalists for the Wells presidency. As a result, we have identified three candidates who will visit the campus beginning next week and extending into early February. All three bring previous presidential experience to Wells!

We will inform the campus community of each candidate's identity and the details of their time on campus roughly 48 hours prior to each visit. Their CVs will be posted on the password-accessible sections of The Globe for faculty and staff, students and Trustees. The presidential search committee encourages your participation as we welcome these candidates to the campus on the following dates:

Candidate #1: Wednesday – Thursday, January 28-29
Candidate #2: Friday – Saturday, January 30-31
Candidate #3: Tuesday – Wednesday, February 3-4

The purposes of these visits are two-fold. First, they will enable us to know the candidates better. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the visits should provide an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate the strengths and benefits that Wells offers a potential new president. Throughout the search process, the committee has been pledged to protect the identity of candidates. Obviously, we can no longer promise complete confidentiality to these finalists, but we ask that you respect the notion that we will not openly publicize their visits beyond our campus community. At this stage, alumnae/i interests will be represented by WCA president and Trustee Betty Rodriguez Vislosky '78 who is a member of the search committee.

In addition to the search committee's preliminary interviews with these candidates, we have had many conversations with individuals who have worked with them and know them well. We urge you to bear in mind that further inquiries about them should be handled only by the search committee, and then with sensitivity and discretion. If you know of persons who might know of any of the candidates' previous experience, please let me know and we will follow up directly; I can be reached at 75mcarroll@gmail.com.

The campus visits will include specific meetings with each of Wells' campus con­stituen­cies, and we will schedule an open forum with a brief presentation by each candidate so that all members of the campus community can meet together and know them better. We encourage all interested members of the Wells campus to attend the session(s) appropriate to your interests. You will be invited to provide your impressions of each candidate immediately after each of their visits via an electronic survey form. More detailed information about each of these visits (schedules, logistics, etc.) will be forwarded to the campus soon by Sharon Darling.

We are extremely pleased with the progress of the search and look forward to this final phase. On behalf of the entire search committee, thank you for your continuing support and assistance.
 

December 22, 2014

TO: Members of the Wells College Community
FROM: Marie Chapman Carroll, Trustee
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
SUBJECT: Presidential Search Update

I am writing to provide another update on the search for the new Wells College president. The search committee met on Wednesday, December 17, and selected a small number of candidates who are being invited to participate in confidential preliminary interviews with the search committee in mid-January. These candidates were selected on the basis of their experience, the quality of the written materials they presented to the committee, and the results of reference calls made over the last three weeks. They were chosen from a pool of accomplished individuals, many of whose backgrounds and experiences seemed especially consistent with the presidential qualifications established for the search. Upon completion of these interviews, the committee will select candidates who will be invited to participate in more extensive interviews late in January or early in February. I will write to you again regarding this final phase of the interview process as it unfolds, recognizing that confidentiality will remain a major factor through the conclusion of our search.

The committee is extremely pleased with the quality of our semi-finalist candidates and we are encouraged by the breadth and depth of experience in higher education that so many of them present. As we learn more about the individuals remaining in the candidate pool, we are reassured about the quality of leadership from which we can choose. If you have any questions, please direct them to me at 75mcarroll@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.
 

December 8, 2014

TO: Members of the Wells College Community
FROM: Marie Chapman Carroll, Trustee
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
SUBJECT: Search Update

We are happy to report that the search for the next Wells president is progressing very well and remains on schedule. The closing date for applications has now passed and we are moving forward. The search committee met most recently on Friday, December 5, and began to select candidates whose backgrounds and experiences ­seem especially consistent with the qualifications established for the Wells presidency. The committee will meet again on December 17 to extend our evaluation and to select a small number of candidates who will be invited to confidential preliminary interviews with the search committee later in January. On completion of that round of interviews, the committee will select candidates to participate in more extensive interviews with representatives of all campus constituencies. We will notify you of the specific methods, dates, and times of this final phase of the search, as soon as they are determined.

We are extremely pleased with the quality of the candidate pool and, as a result, continue to be mindful of the need for complete confidentiality. All of our remaining candidates are engaged in other assignments with very significant responsibilities. To prematurely expose their interest publicly in Wells' presidency would likely result in their withdrawing from our search. We will move forward with an effort to strike the appropriate balance between maintaining confidentiality with enabling adequate exposure between the candidates and Wells' people and programs. If you have any questions, please let me know at 75mcarroll@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.
 

October 20, 2014

TO: The Wells College Community
FROM: Marie Chapman Carroll, Trustee
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
SUBJECT: Search Update

This is another in the series of informational memos intended to keep you apprised of the work of the presidential search committee.

The search committee met on Thursday, October 16, to review our progress since we announced the search on October 1, and to affirm our schedule for the coming weeks. We began the review of application documents and we discussed evaluation parameters that will help us focus on the desired attributes of Wells' next president. We will use these parameters in assessing applicants for the presidency in the weeks ahead. The presidential profile is available for your review on the presidential search page located on the Wells College website at www.wells.edu.

Our advertising continues to appear this month in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, Women in Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook, Diverse Jobs, and Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. We have distributed roughly 4,000 search profiles nationally to inform selected individuals about the search and to request their suggestions of candidates we should consider.

We ask again that you too suggest persons who might be attractive to Wells in this search. Please contact our consultants, Veryl Miles at vvm@agbsearch.com or Tom Courtice, at tbc@agbsearch.com with names and contact information related to any potential candidates. The nominations and suggestions that we receive from those closest to Wells can be among the most meaningful in the process of candidate generation.

We will review application materials over the next few weeks and we plan to meet again in early December to evaluate our general progress and to begin reducing the candidate pool to a smaller group. At this point, we are pleased with the early response to our search activity.

The committee will continue to stay in touch with you throughout the presidential search process. We welcome your comments and questions at any time 75mcarroll@gmail.com. Be assured that we will treat all information from you in total confidence.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.
 

September 30, 2014

TO: Members of the Wells College Community
FROM: Marie Chapman Carroll, Trustee
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
SUBJECT: Search Update On Behalf of the Presidential Search Committee

I am pleased to provide you with this update on the presidential search, which is well underway. The search committee has completed the development of the Presidential Search Profile to be used for all advertising and recruiting related to the search. A copy will be posted on our website at www.wells.edu later today.

As you review the Search Profile, please pay particular attention to the attributes most highly desired in our next president. We urge you to suggest people you know who could serve effectively as our next president and/or those who might know potential candidates. Please forward their name(s) to our search consultants, Veryl Miles (vvm@agbsearch.com) and/or Tom Courtice (tbc@agbsearch.com). The search committee is well aware that the success of our search depends on the involvement of all members of the Wells community. By nominating strong candidates, you can immediately be involved in the search process.

We will generate the candidate pool through nominations received from you, contacts with national educa­tion and founda­tion officials, inquiries at other colleges and universities, advertising in the Chronicle of Higher Education and other publications, and the work of our consultants.

The search is off to a good start. I will write to you again as we enter subsequent stages of the process. In the meantime, don't hesitate to contact me (75mcarroll@gmail.com) if you have questions. Thank you for your ongoing interest and your support.
 

September 4, 2014

Update to September 5 meetings: Campus-wide Open Forum has been moved to Art Exhibit Room (AER) in Macmillan Hall

Presidential Pre-Search Study – Round II
Campus meetings with AGB Search
All sessions are hosted by Veryl Miles and Tom Courtice

Friday, September 5, 2014
8:00-9:00 am All Faculty (including Emeritae/i)
Art Exhibit Room, Macmillan Hall

9:15-10:15 am Staff
Art Exhibit Room, Macmillan Hall

10:30-11:30 am Students
Chapel, Main Building

11:45 am-12:15 pm Untenured and Adjunct Faculty
Henry Wells Room, Long Library

3:30-4:30 pm Campus-wide Open Forum
Art Exhibit Room, Macmillan Hall
 

August 18, 2014

Dear Wells College Community,

As we continue to move ahead with the search for Wells' next President, our consultant team from AGB Search, Tom Courtice and Veryl Miles, will return to campus for additional meetings with the campus community. That visit is scheduled for Friday, September 5; the schedule is below.

Presidential Pre-Search Study – Round II
Campus meetings with AGB Search
All sessions are hosted by Veryl Miles and Tom Courtice

Friday, September 5, 2014
8:00-9:00 am All Faculty (including Emeritae/i)
Art Exhibit Room, Macmillan Hall

9:15-10:15 am Staff
Art Exhibit Room, Macmillan Hall

10:30-11:30 am Students
Chapel, Main Building

11:45 am-12:15 pm Untenured and Adjunct Faculty
Henry Wells Room, Long Library

3:30-4:30 pm Campus-wide Open Forum
Art Exhibit Room, Macmillan Hall

All community members are encouraged to attend; no response is necessary. In addition, please feel free to send your insights about Wells and this important search to Tom or Veryl at tbc@agbsearch.com or vvm@agbsearch.com. The information that was and will be gathered during their campus visits, in follow-up emails, and through other documents and publications about Wells will be used to develop the search profile for our next President. This profile will be released to the campus and beyond, and the search will be launched publicly next month.

If you have any questions or comments for me, please address them to me at 75mcarroll@gmail.com. I will continue to write to you, on behalf of the Search Committee, throughout the coming months to keep you posted on our progress. Faculty (including emeritae/i), staff and students will receive information via email; news for alumnae and alumni will be shared via the monthly e-newsletter. In addition, announcements will be posted to http://www.wells.edu/about/presidents-office/presidential-search, the College's Facebook page and other social media outlets.

Thank you for your interest and support.

Sincerely,
Marie Chapman Carroll '75
Board of Trustees
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
 

July 15, 2014

Dear Wells College Community,
I am writing to you again in an effort to keep you informed about the progress of the search for Wells' next President. The 12-member Presidential Search Committee has been confirmed and will represent all of Wells' constituencies. The Committee members, presented again at the end of this note, deserve our heartfelt gratitude for accepting the significant responsibilities that their assignments entail.

The Committee met on Wednesday morning, July 9, and we accepted our charge from the Board of Trustees. We reviewed and approved a preliminary search timeline and discussed the next steps in the search process. We also spent considerable time discussing the necessity of maintaining strict confidentiality throughout the search and each member of the Committee has signed a confidentiality agreement.

Over the next few weeks we will be reviewing summaries of conversations with our consultant team from AGB Search, Tom Courtice and Veryl Miles, during their visit to campus last week and from their upcoming meetings on campus in September. Information that you provide, in addition to other documents and publications about Wells, will be used to develop the search profile for our next President. This profile will be released to the campus and beyond, and the search will be launched publicly in September.

Thanks to all of you who engaged Tom and Veryl in conversation; additional sessions will be scheduled for September. Please feel free to send your insights about Wells and this important search to them at tbc@agbsearch.com and vvm@agbsearch.com. If you have any questions or comments for me at this early stage, please address them to me at 75mcarroll@gmail.com. I will continue to write to you, on behalf of the Search Committee, throughout the coming months to keep you posted on our progress.

As we continue to move through the process, faculty (including emeritae/i), staff and students will receive information via email; news for alumnae and alumni will be shared via the monthly e-newsletter. In addition, announcements will be posted to http://www.wells.edu/about/presidents-office/presidential-search, the College's Facebook page and other social media outlets.

Thank you for your interest and support.

Sincerely,
Marie Chapman Carroll '75
Board of Trustees
Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Search Committee Membership
Trustees:

  • Marie Chapman Carroll '75, Committee Chair
    Betty Rodriguez Vislosky '78, President, Wells College Association of Alumnae and Alumni
    Lisa Mazzola Cania '79
    Daniel J. Fessenden
    Renée Forgensi Minarik '80
    Stephen L. Zabriskie
    Carrie Bolton '92, Board Chair, ex officio

Faculty:

  • Deborah Gagnon, Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Scott Heinekamp, Professor of Physics
  • Katie Waugh, Assistant Professor of Studio Art

Student: Jamyra Young '15, Collegiate Cabinet President

Staff: Kevin Miles, Director of the Sullivan Center for Business and Entrepreneurship
 

June 25, 2014

Dear Wells community:
We have reached an important milestone in the search for our next President: the selection of an executive search firm. AGB Search of Washington, DC, will partner with the committee for the search.

Founded in 2010 by the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities, ABG Search focuses exclusively on leadership placement for higher education clients. AGB Search will work with the Search Committee throughout the recruitment and selection process, tailoring their approach to Wells College's needs.

AGB Search principals Thomas B. Courtice and Veryl Miles '77 will lead their team. Dr. Courtice's forty years of higher education experience include faculty and administrative positions prior to serving as president of three independent colleges. In her twenty-five year career in legal education, Ms. Miles has served as law school dean and deputy director of the Association of American Law Schools; she also served two terms on our Board of Trustees. With both broad experience and expertise across higher education, and familiarity with Wells College (former Board Chair Tobie Tyler van der Vorm '70 recently retired from the firm and Nancy Tillinghast '69 serves as a research associate on their staff), we are confident that AGB Search will be a strong partner as we move through this critical next step for the College.

The search process typically begins with the development of a profile for the new President that aligns with our needs and priorities. As such, AGB Search will work with us to conduct "listening sessions" with community members including the Presidential Search Committee, the Board of Trustees, faculty members, members of the administration and staff, our students, alumni and alumnae, and friends of the College.

Please visit the AGB Search website at http://agbsearch.com/ to learn more about their firm, their process, and the principals with whom we will be working.

As the Committee continues to make progress toward a successful search, we remain grateful to have President de Witt on board and will continue to rely on the engagement of our larger community. We welcome your questions and suggestions; please direct them to me at 314.566.1669 or, on campus, to Ann Rollo, director of communications, at arollo@wells.edu or 315.364.3235.

As we continue to move ahead, faculty, staff and students will receive information via email; news for alumnae and alumni will be shared via the monthly e-newsletter. In addition, announcements will be posted to http://www.wells.edu/about/presidents-office/presidential-search, the College's Facebook page and other social media outlets.

Sincerely,
Marie Chapman Carroll '75
Board of Trustees
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
 

June 11, 2014

Dear Wells community:
As we move forward with the search for our next President, I will apprise you of key milestones throughout the process. Thus, I am pleased to update you on the constitution of the full committee, as well as our progress so far.

Committee membership: The faculty members of the committee have now been selected following the guidelines provided in the Faculty Manual; the incoming president of Collegiate Cabinet will fill the student seat; and we have invited a member of the staff to serve. Our Board Chair will also serve ex officio on the Committee. As a result, the membership is as follows:

Trustees:

  • Marie Chapman Carroll '75, Committee Chair
  • Betty Rodriguez Vislosky '78, President, Wells College Association of Alumnae and Alumni
  • Lisa Mazzola Cania '79
  • Daniel J. Fessenden
  • Renée Forgensi Minarik '80
  • Stephen L. Zabriskie
  • Carrie Bolton '92, Chair-elect, ex officio

Faculty:

  • Deborah Gagnon, Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Scott Heinekamp, Professor of Physics
  • Katie Waugh, Assistant Professor of Studio Art

Student:

  • Jamyra Young '15, Collegiate Cabinet President

Staff:

  • Kevin Miles, Director of the Sullivan Center for Business and Entrepreneurship

Key progress: As is typical for a presidential search, we will solicit input and share news across our constituencies at various points throughout the process. As Reunion recently took place, during the weekend Betty Rodriguez Vislosky '78 held a session on campus in which she discussed the search and asked for input from alumnae and alumni.

The Committee is currently in the midst of the selection process to determine the executive search firm to partner with the committee throughout the search, and will share that news once we have finalized a contract.

Even as the Committee is excited to move forward with this momentous work, we remain grateful to have President de Witt on board and will continue to rely on the engagement of our larger community. We welcome your questions and suggestions; please direct them to me at 314.566.1669 or, on campus, to Ann Rollo, director of communications, at arollo@wells.edu or 315.364.3235.

As we continue to progress, faculty (including emeritae/i), staff and students will receive information via email; news for alumnae and alumni will be shared via the monthly e-newsletter. In addition, announcements will be posted to http://www.wells.edu/about/presidents-office/presidential-search, the College's Facebook page and other social media outlets.

Sincerely,
Marie Chapman Carroll '75
Board of Trustees
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
 

May 16, 2014

Dear Wells community:
I am pleased to share that at our May meeting, as expected, the Board of Trustees voted to move forward with a national search for our next President. While we are fortunate and grateful for all that President de Witt has accomplished in his tenure thus far, his appointment as an interim president is necessarily limited, and we must begin the search process with ample time to attract our next leader. President de Witt will remain at Wells through the duration of the search.

At the request of Board Chair Stanley J. Kott, I have agreed to lead the process and chair the search committee. The search committee will consist of members of the Wells community as follows: five additional Trustees, including the President of the Wells College Association of Alumnae and Alumni ex officio; three members of the faculty, selected based on the guidelines provided in the Faculty Manual; one current student; and a member of the staff (not Senior Staff). We anticipate that the full committee will be constituted within the next several weeks and will begin our work as a whole at that time.

As the enthusiastic engagement of our community will contribute to a successful search, we will seek community input and distribute information widely as it becomes available. I will share periodic updates at key points in the process, including an announcement of the full committee once that has been determined, progress on selection of a search firm, candidate visits to campus, and other milestones. Faculty (including emeritae/i), staff and students will receive information via email; news for alumnae and alumni will be shared via the monthly e-newsletter. In addition, we have created a section on our website at http://www.wells.edu/about/presidents-office/presidential-search on which all updates will appear.We will post announcements to the College's Facebook page and other social media outlets, and distribute press releases as appropriate. All questions should be directed to me at 314.566.1669 or, on campus, to Ann Rollo, director of communications, at arollo@wells.edu or 315.364.3235.

We are excited to move forward with this important and momentous work – and are confident that an inclusive, collaborative process, conducted with professionalism, integrity and transparency will result in an excellent pool of candidates and, ultimately, in a leader with the courage and capacity to lead this wonderful College into the next chapter in her proud history.

Sincerely,
Marie Chapman Carroll '75
Board of Trustees

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