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EWU names presidential search committee

Eighteen individuals will be tasked with reviewing, interviewing and helping select university's next leader

CHENEY – Eastern Washington University's search for its next president has officially begun.

At a special meeting on Monday, April 19, the university's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the formation of an 18-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee (PSAC) that will review candidate application materials and provide input to the board on the strengths and weaknesses of candidates meeting the job qualifications. The board also authorized the issuing of a request for proposal (RFP) from qualified executive consultant search firms to engage in a nationwide process.

"As we all know, and as Board of Trustees, this is one of our most important responsibilities that we have is to select the university's president," Board of Trustees Chair Vicki Wilson said. "And we begin that process of a presidential search today, and we encourage the whole community, the campus community to fully engage in this process."

Part of the PSAC's composition includes four Board of Trustee members, one of which serves as chair. The board unanimously selected Trustee U.S. District Court Judge Robert Whaley to serve in this capacity, with Wilson and Trustee's Uriel Iniguez and Jay Manning unanimously selected as committee members.

While most of the Trustee's expressed their ability to serve on the committee if selected, none felt they would be able to do so in the capacity of chair, due to the requirements of the position and how that would impact their other careers. In accepting the nomination as Chair, Whaley said he felt the opposing demands of career and the search committee position would likely lead to most expressing to the ability to serve as a member, but not as the leader.

"I'm not at that point in my career," Whaley said. "I will gladly do it, thank you for asking and I would accept it if I am selected."

The committee will also include one college dean, three faculty members - one each from the United Faculty of Eastern, Faculty Organization and an at-large - two classified employees - one from the union and one at-large - one public school employee, one exempt employee, two students, one EWU Foundation board member, one alumni board member and two community members. The Board of Trustees is accepting nominations to the committee from these groups through 5 p.m., May 7.

Additionally, the PSAC will develop a communications plan – in collaboration with the university's marketing/communications department, consultant firm and the Trustees - to keep the campus and community at large appraised of search developments. The committee will also interview semifinalists identified by the Trustees and assist the Trustees in arranging campus visits for the finalists.

The committee will also engage in interviews with the finalists. It's estimated that the presidential search could take up to a year.

David May has served as the university's interim president since former president Dr. Mary Cullinan stepped down from the position in August, 2020. May will continue serving in this capacity through the selection process and has the opportunity to also apply for this permanent post.

– John McCallum can be reached at [email protected].

Author Bio

John McCallum, Free Press Publishing Managing Editor

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John McCallum is the Free Press Publishing managing editor, who also serves as editor of the Cheney Free Press and Spokane Valley News Herald.


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