August 13, 2012
|Steven Stites Acting Executive Vice Chancellor, Acting Dean, KU School of Medicine|
When I accepted the postition of Acting Executive Vice Chancellor last April, I expected to step down sometime around Labor Day (I know a few of my colleagues, not to mention my family, were hoping that would the case!). But when Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little came to campus for a town hall meeting on the EVC search, she predicted that it would be January 2013, at the earliest, before a new EVC would be in place.That doesn't mean the EVC search committee hasn't been hard at work. In fact, several candidates have made preliminary visits to our campus over the last few weeks, so it's time for an update on the search.
The Chancellor has asked the search committee to present her with three final candidates. The committee is still looking at excellent candidates inside and outside of the medical center, but it has not settled on three finalists. As it turns out, there are currently many openings for top executives at academic health centers around the country, so we face an especially fluid recruiting situation. Our search committee might have been well into conversations with a strong candidate, only to find that before we can bring that person to our campus, he or she has accepted a position at another institution. As of last week, the committee had begun additional conversations with new candidates who have come to its attention.
Meanwhile, dozens of people met with potential candidates who came to campus for 36-hour visits during July. Some people have asked why more stakeholders weren't involved in these interviews, or why the process wasn't more open. Ed Ellerbeck, the chair of the search committee, explains that this was an initial round of interviews to determine whether candidates would be invited back for several days of interviews, with an opportunity to publicly share their vision for the medical center. Also, the committee is trying to keep its initial candidates somewhat confidential - though the identities of these candidates were not secret to those who met with them, some of the best candidates currently hold high-level jobs at other institutions and it may present problems if they are publicly identified as candidates for our EVC job at what is still a preliminary stage.
Although I am most eager for the arrival of a new Executive Vice Chancellor, I also know firsthand how crucial it is that we find the absolute right person. I am so impressed by the patience and diligence of the search committee - some members have now been serving for nine months - and I'm extremely grateful for Ed Ellerbeck's leadership as chair. The Chancellor and I are confident that their hard work will pay off. We look forward to a more public phase of the search as soon as the committee feels the time is right.