Wright State paid at least $80K to find candidates for top academic job

Wright State University’s board of trustees paid a search firm at least $80,000 to find candidates for the school’s provost job.

A contract between the WSU board and search firm Greenwood Asher —which was obtained by this news organization through a public records request —shows that the university paid a flat fee of $60,000 for the search plus another 6 percent of that fee for indirect expenses and administrative assistance.

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The contract also states that Wright State paid the search firm $10,000 for travel expenses, $10,000 for background checks and additional travel expenses for candidates that were not detailed in the agreement.

Greenwood Asher is a search firm with offices in Ohio, Washington, D.C., Florida, Alabama, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia. The firm has worked with several colleges such as Ohio State University and Ohio University.

Hiring private search firms have become a common practice for colleges. Since the search is being performed by a private company, it allows schools to withhold the names of candidates if they choose to do so.

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As Wright State did with its presidential search, the university is releasing the names of its provost candidates the day before they visit campus. A university provost position is usually the top academic post at a school and often considered one of the top overall positions withing an administration.

Wright State welcomes its first provost candidate to campus today. Kenneth Petersen, dean of Boise State University’s college of business and economics since 2014, is visiting campus today and participating in a public forum.

WSU president Cheryl Schrader previously worked at Boise State from 2003 to 2012. In December, outgoing WSU provost Tom Sudkamp announced he would step down in June.


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