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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for choosing the next president?

The Board of Trustees holds the ultimate responsibility for hiring the next president. The Board recognizes and values the critical importance of key stakeholder participation in the presidential search process with regard to providing input around institutional needs and the evaluation and vetting of candidates. This critical role is reflected in the composition of the search committee, which is charged with presenting the Board with a recommended slate of the best-qualified candidates for their consideration.

What is the role of the search committee?

The role of the search committee is to conduct a national search to identify and interview the most qualified candidates and recommend finalists to the Board of Trustees, whose members will make the final decision on electing the president.  The list of search committee members can be found here.

Which search firm has been retained and what is the firm’s role?

After vetting several search firms, Union has retained Isaacson, Miller (IM). With offices in Boston, Washington, DC and San Francisco, IM has the largest higher education executive search practice in the U.S. and has placed some of the most respected and successful presidents in the country's leading colleges and universities. Our IM team is led by Kathryn Barry `01, a Union College alumna and partner with the firm who has extensive presidential search experience.

The role of the search firm is to assist the presidential search committee by helping to guide the Committee in determining its structure and processes; by advising the committee in connection with creation of the presidential job description; and by engaging in outreach to attract a large, talented and diverse pool of qualified candidates to be considered by the committee.

How long will the search take and when will the new president take office?

Presidential searches typically take about six months. The Board hopes to name the next president late this winter with a proposed official start date of July 1, 2018, immediately after President Ainlay’s tenure comes to an end on June 30, 2018.

How do I share my thoughts about the search or send nominations?

The search firm and the search committee welcome your thoughts on the search. The firm is holding open listening sessions with the on-campus community on September 27 and 28. They will hold listening sessions with alumni and parents over Homecoming Weekend. If you wish to share your views or send nominations, please email Isaacson, Miller.