Wright State received 61 applications for president’s job

Search committe plans to pick 12 semifinalists after holidays

More than 60 people have applied to be Wright State University’s next president, surpassing the committee’s goal of 50 applicants.

The presidential search committee is whittling down a list of 61 applicants to about a dozen or so semifinalists, said committee chairman Doug Fecher, who also serves as a Wright State trustee.

Although some were concerned that Wright State’s budget issues and an ongoing federal investigation would hamper the number of quality candidates for the president’s job, Fecher said their search firm told them “do you think you’re the only university with challenges?”

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“They said ‘yeah you have challenges but so does everybody and do you really want a president who isn’t willing to handle those challenges?’” Fecher said.

Wright State president David Hopkins will retire at the end of June and the university has hired Academic Search, a Washington, D.C.-based search firm specializing in higher education, to find his successor. The firm’s services will cost WSU about $120,000.

The search committee was happy with the applicant pool and its “really strong diversity,” Fecher said.

“We were really pleased, not only with the size of the candidate pool but the quality was really high,” Fecher said. “Lots of sitting presidents and chancellors and high level deans at schools across the country.”

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WSU also received a “fair amount” of applications around Ohio, including some who already work at Wright State, Fecher said. Although officials have said they would search nationally for a new president, on Thursday Fecher said they would still consider internal candidates.

“There is no preconceived notion, external versus internal. We’re having a very open mind toward the candidates,” Fecher said. “We’re looking at who has the best qualifications and who is the best match for Wright State University.”

The board of trustees expects to name a new president in April but first members of the search committee will start interviewing semifinalists after the holidays.

From there, they will shrink the pool to around two or three candidates who will be invited to campus. Although the search committee will not make public its 12 or so semifinalists, it will announce the finalists, who Fecher said will be asked to meet with faculty and student groups.

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The search committee is also exploring the possibility of hosting open forums for the final candidates although Fecher said the details of those events are yet to be determined.

“We’re definitely going to do that,” Fecher said. “They will be on campus where they will be here for two days or so.”

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