About Coe > Presidential Search

To view the Presidential Search Profile brochure, click here.

To view the Presidential Search advertisement, click here.

To view profiles of the Presidential Search Committee members, click here.


September 18, 2012

Dear Coe Community,

As you know from my previous reports on behalf of the Presidential Search Committee, the final phase of our recruitment effort includes an invitation to select candidates to visit the campus. The committee met last Friday and Saturday, September 14 and 15, and interviewed nine semi-finalists for the Coe presidency. As a result, we have identified three candidates who are being invited to visit the campus during the first two weeks of October. We will inform you of each candidate’s identity and the details of their time on campus roughly 48 hours prior to each visit. Their letters of candidacy and curriculum vitaes will be posted on the Coe intranet (my.coe.edu) for your information. The presidential search committee encourages your participation as we welcome these candidates to the Coe campus on the following dates:

Candidate #1 - October 1 & 2
Candidate #2 - October 3 & 4
Candidate #3 - October 9 & 10

The purposes of these visits are two-fold. First, they will enable us to know the candidates better. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the visits should provide an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate the strengths and benefits that Coe offers a potential new president. Throughout the search process, the committee has been pledged to protect the identity of candidates. Obviously, we can no longer promise complete confidentiality to these finalists, but we ask that you respect the notion that we will not openly publicize their visits beyond our campus community.

In addition to the search committee's preliminary interviews with these candidates, we have had many conversations with individuals who have worked with them and know them well. We urge you to bear in mind that further inquiries about them will be handled by the search committee with sensitivity and discretion. We respectfully discourage you from contacting friends or associates who might know the candidates as such contacts could jeopardize the success of the search.

These visits will include specific meetings with each of Coe's con­stituen­cies, and we will schedule an open forum with a brief presentation by each candidate so that all members of the College community can know them better. We encourage all interested members of the Coe community to attend the session(s) appropriate to your interests. You will be invited to provide your impressions of each candidate immediately after each of their visits via an electronic survey form. More detailed information about each of these visits (schedules, logistics, etc.) will be forwarded to you soon.

We are extremely pleased with the progress of the search and look forward to this final phase. On behalf of the entire search committee, thank you for your continuing support and assistance.

Sincerely,
Gene M. Henderson '68
Chair, Presidential Search Committee


September 5, 2012

Dear Coe Community,

On behalf of the Presidential Search Committee, I am happy to report that the search for the next Coe president is progressing very well and remains on schedule. The posted application deadline has passed and the winnowing process has begun in earnest.

The search committee met on Monday, August 20, and created a shortlist of candidates from a large and comprehensive pool of applicants. We met again on Tuesday, September 4, and selected a smaller number of candidates who are being invited to participate in confidential preliminary interviews with the search committee next weekend. These candidates were selected on the basis of their experience in higher education, the quality of the written materials they presented to the committee, and the results of reference calls made over the last two weeks. On completion of that round of interviews, the committee will select candidates to participate in more extensive interviews with representatives of all campus constituencies.  We will notify you of the specific methods, dates and times of this final phase of the search, as soon as they are determined.

The search committee is extremely pleased with the quality of our semi-finalist candidates, and we are encouraged by the breadth and depth of experience in higher education that so many of them present. As we learn more about the individuals remaining in the candidate pool, we are reassured about the caliber of leadership from which we can choose. Let me add a note of caution. All of our remaining candidates are engaged in other assignments with very significant responsibilities. To prematurely expose their interest publicly in Coe’s presidency would likely result in their withdrawing from our search. We will move forward with an effort to strike the appropriate balance between maintaining confidentiality with enabling adequate exposure between the candidates and Coe’s people and programs. If you have any questions, please direct them to me at presidentialsearch@coe.edu.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.

Sincerely,
Gene M. Henderson '68
Chair, Presidential Search Committee


June 28, 2012

Dear Coe Community,

This is another in the series of informational updates intended to keep you apprised of the work of the Coe Presidential Search Committee.

The Committee met earlier this week on the Coe campus, to review our early progress and to affirm our schedule over the next three months. We began the actual review of candidate papers and we discussed evaluation parameters that will help us focus on the desired attributes of Coe’s next president. We will use these parameters in assessing applicants for the presidency in the weeks ahead. The search profile continues to be available for your review at www.coe.edu/presidentialsearch.

All leading indicators (number of vitae received, informal expressions of interest, etc.) suggest that our process is producing the anticipated results. Our advertising continues to appear this month in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Women in Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook, Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Diverse, Presbyterian Outlook and Inside Higher Education. We have distributed roughly 3,500 search profiles nationally to inform selected individuals about the search and to request their suggestions of persons we should consider.

We ask again that you too refer people who might be attractive to Coe in this search. Please contact our consultant, Tom Courtice, at tbc@agbsearch.com with names and additional contact information related to any potential candidates. The nominations and suggestions that we receive from those closest to the Coe program can be among the most meaningful in the process of candidate generation.

We will review application materials throughout the next two months, and we plan to meet again in late August to evaluate our general progress and to begin reducing the candidate pool to a smaller group.

The Committee will continue to stay in touch with you throughout the process. We welcome your comments and questions at any time (presidentialsearch@coe.edu). Be assured that we will treat all information from you in total confidence.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.

Gene M. Henderson '68
Chair, Presidential Search Committee


May 21, 2012

Dear Coe Community,

I am writing to update you on the progress of Coe’s presidential search.

The Search Committee has completed the development of the Presidential Search Profile, to be used for all the advertising and recruiting related to the search. A copy has been posted on the Coe website at www.coe.edu/presidentialsearch. As you review this document, please keep in mind that it is intended to contain a representative but not exhaustive list of the “assets” of Coe. Similarly, it attempts to strike a balance between the many accomplishments of the past 15 years and the anticipated challenges of the decade ahead. While the Committee and our search consultant took great pains to avoid this piece becoming text-heavy, I believe it paints an accurate, vibrant and reasonably comprehensive picture of Coe and will serve our purpose well.

Our inaugural ad, announcing the presidential vacancy at Coe, will appear in the May 25th edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education. A copy of that ad is also posted on the same web page for your interest.

As you review the Search Profile and the Chronicle ad, please pay particular attention to the attributes most highly desired in Coe’s next president. We urge you to suggest people you know who could serve effectively as our next president and/or those who might know potential candidates. Please forward their name(s) to our consultant, Tom Courtice, at tbc@agbsearch.com. Over the next several weeks and throughout the summer, we will generate the candidate pool through nominations received from you, contacts with national educa­tion and founda­tion officials, inquiries at other colleges and universities, letters to friends and alumni of Coe, advertising in various other publications, and the work of our consultant.

The search is off to a good start, but the Search Committee is well aware that the success of our search depends on the involvement of all members of the Coe community. By nominating strong candidates, you can immediately be involved in the search process.

I will write to you again as we enter subsequent stages of the process. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me or other members of the Presidential Search Committee at presidentialsearch@coe.edu if you have questions or comments. Thank you for your interest and your support.

Sincerely,
Gene M. Henderson '68
Chair, Presidential Search Committee


March 1, 2012

Dear Coe Community,

I am writing to keep you posted on the early planning and progress in the presidential search. The full membership of the Presidential Search Committee met this past weekend as part of the winter meeting of the Board of Trustees and formally accepted its charge from the Board. Since my last message to you, the Committee has been expanded and now includes faculty, staff, students, and of course, trustees (some of whom are alumni and parents of current or former students). Personally, I am thrilled with the talent, competence, perspective and breadth of experience represented in this group. To view the profiles of the members of the Committee, please see www.coe.edu/presidentialsearch.

To protect candidates and to ensure the integrity of the search process, we spent considerable time at the Committee meeting discussing the necessity of maintaining strict confidentiality throughout this search. To that end, all Committee members have signed a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement. If you find yourself in a conversation about the search with a Committee member and that person appears to be guarded in his/her response to your queries, please understand that discretion is vital to the overall success of this process.

In addition, the Committee reviewed and approved a preliminary search timeline, and discussed the next critical step in the search process, now scheduled to occur on April 3 and 4. At that time, our search consultant, Dr. Thomas Courtice, will be on campus to learn more about the attributes the Coe community hopes to see in its next president.

Specifically, Tom’s on-campus pre-search study has three primary purposes:

  • To ensure that he will be well-informed about Coe College, thereby performing his consultative role with full understanding;
  • To give representatives of on-campus constituencies an opportunity to register their views about Coe’s future needs and priorities; and,
  • To enable Tom and the Committee to produce a Presidential Search Profile that outlines the key opportunities and challenges facing our next president and a related set of presidential attributes and talents that we all desire.

The product of all this effort will be what I am calling the “Coe Presidential Search Prospectus,” which we expect will be published in late May. This document will be a critical tool in providing information about the college to potential candidates. Shortly after this prospectus is completed, we will officially begin accepting applications for the position.

If you have questions, comments or other input, you can communicate to the Committee using the presidentialsearch@coe.edu address. Also, you can visit the web page at www.coe.edu/presidentialsearch to stay abreast of developments in the search. I appreciate your interest in the search and pledge to continue to provide updates as developments occur.

Sincerely,
Gene M. Henderson '68
Chair, Presidential Search Committee


January 10, 2012

Dear Coe Community,

As you may know, when President Phifer announced his retirement to the Coe community last October, the Board of Trustees formed a Presidential Search Committee. In my view, Coe is fortunate to have a diverse group of well-qualified individuals who have dedicated themselves to working together with the goal of finding the best person possible to lead Coe in the future. Nearly all of the members of the Committee, currently composed of trustees and faculty, are Coe alumni, which is an added benefit and further testimony to the strength of our wonderful institution. It is my privilege to lead this group as an extension of my role as the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

All of the Committee members understand the importance of communicating the progress of our work to the various Coe constituencies, both on and off campus. This is our first communication to you, and in the months ahead we will keep you informed at appropriate times. In addition, we have created this web page as an additional communications channel to post information as the process unfolds.

After the Committee was formed late last fall, we began meeting on a regular basis, mostly by teleconference. Early on, we determined that we should enlist the services of a national search firm for an executive employment search of this nature. Retaining the services of a company that specializes in executive searches for top college administrators is a common practice in higher education. Once the news of President Phifer’s retirement became public, the Committee received proposals from more than a dozen firms that specialize in academic search. The Committee considered each of these proposals, did extensive due diligence and reference checking, and narrowed the list of potential search firms to four.

On December 21, the Presidential Search Committee met in Chicago to conduct face-to-face interviews with these four finalists. While all of these companies are reputable, and each possesses some unique skills to apply to our all-important search, we decided our first choice was AGB Search, based in Washington, D.C. After that meeting, the Committee performed further reference checking and fact-finding, and this week signed a contract with AGB Search.

The principal consultant with whom we will be working with is Dr. Thomas B. Courtice. Tom began his career as a faculty member at Hamline University more than four decades ago, and subsequently moved into higher education administration. He has served as president of Westbrook College, West Virginia Wesleyan College and Ohio Wesleyan University. In addition, Tom formerly served on the Board of Trustees at Ripon College and Hilbert College, the Advisory Board of the Appalachian College Association, the NCAA Executive Committee, and several educational associations. In the past few years, Tom has facilitated the recruitment of college presidents at many colleges that are familiar to Coe, including Berea College, Carleton College and Central College. Representatives of these institutions and others speak glowingly of Tom’s ability to capture the essence of the institution, work effectively with all constituencies, and develop a pool of well-qualified candidates. We believe Tom’s background with small, private colleges is among the many reasons that he is particularly qualified to assist us with this delicate and challenging task ahead.

Over the next few months, we will be developing a firm timeline and specific plans to effect a smooth transition of the presidency during the summer of 2013. We are also working with our consultant to explore ways in which we might appropriately expand our Committee to ensure that the candidates are exposed to the many perspectives of the Coe community. As previously mentioned, we will do our best to keep you informed as we reach significant milestones in this process. If you have suggestions or comments, feel free to confidentially email them to our Committee at presidentialsearch@coe.edu.

Sincerely,
Gene M. Henderson '68
Chair, Coe Presidential Search Committee