Communications to the Community

March 29, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

The presidential search committee is pleased to announce that we have identified five candidates who have accepted our invitation to interview as finalists for the position of president of Westfield State University. We expect to be able to announce the names of these candidates in the next day or two, once we have received their permission to publicly release their names.

The dates for the visits of the five candidates are noted below.

Finalists

Interview Dates

Candidate 1

Monday, April 5 and Tuesday, April 6

Candidate 2

Thursday, April 8 and Friday, April 9

Candidate 3

Monday, April 12 and Tuesday, April 13

Candidate 4

Thursday, April 15 and Friday, April 16

Candidate 5

Tuesday, April 20 and Wednesday, April 21 (remote)


A template is attached which outlines the schedule for each candidate’s two-day visit. There are still some portions of the schedule that await confirmation; however, these should not affect in any significant way the schedule for most meetings.

On the evening of the first day of each visit, candidates are being asked to give a 20-30 minute address to the university community at large, describing their background, interest in Westfield State’s presidency, what they see as the challenges and opportunities that the university presents including the UEAAC process and recommendations, and what they see ahead for the next five years in higher education. This presentation will be made via Zoom, with an opportunity for questions at the end of the presentation. The search committee hopes that this presentation will set the foundation for meetings on the second day, where different groups can follow-up on what they heard. However, this presentation is not intended to limit the topics that groups may want to discuss with the candidates.

Most group meetings will be on the second day of each candidate’s visit. Large group meetings (e.g., with faculty, with administrators/staff, with students) will be via Zoom. Smaller group meetings (e.g., union leadership, cabinet) will be in-person (spaced appropriately in a large conference room) but will also be accessible via Zoom for those who choose not to be physically present. One candidate has chosen to conduct his visit remotely. In the age of COVID, this is understandable, and we ask community members to keep their focus on the candidates, not on the choice of how the interview is conducted.

This next phase of the presidential search is the one that most involves the university community and in many ways is also the most consequential. WSU community members will have the opportunity to provide feedback after each candidate’s visit. Two important tasks are ahead of us: first, to select a leader who will have the broad, enthusiastic support of university constituencies and can motivate and lead us to a bright future; and second, to represent the university as an exciting place to be, one that has accomplished much and is poised to continue its advancement. Each of us plays a critical role in these tasks as we go forward with the visits.

 

The Presidential Search Committee


March 1, 2021
Dear Members of the Westfield State University Community:

The Presidential Search Committee has reached the stage in its work where by the end of this week we will have identified approximately 10 candidates (semi-finalists) with whom we will be conducting Zoom interviews in the middle of this month.  The goal of these semi-final interviews will be to identify 3-5 candidates (finalists) to engage with the University community, hopefully in-person visits.

Therefore, this is a good time for the Search Committee to share with you its work that has led us to this point.  We will be holding two community information sessions in order to reach as many interested members of the University community as possible.

These sessions, to be led by members of the Search Committee, will be held on:

  • Monday, March 8, at 12:00 p.m. (Zoom link will be emailed the morning of Mar. 8)
  • Thursday, March 11, at 3:00 p.m. (Zoom link will be emailed early afternoon on Mar. 11)

We expect to cover the following topics:

  1. Overview of timeline and the hiring of WittKieffer as search consultants
  • Composition/Membership of the Search Committee
  1. Committee Operating Principles/Guidelines (WSU Presidential Search Guide)
  2. Review of Survey Results and Listening Sessions
  3. Construction and summary of Presidential Leadership Profile
  4. Advertising Plan and WittKieffer recruitment
  5. Composition of candidate pool
  6. Next Steps: Identification of semi-finalists
  • Semi-finalist interviews
  • Identification of finalists and campus visits
  • Search Committee Recommendation to Board of Trustees
  • Board of Trustees/Commissioner, DHE

We hope you will be able to join us for one of these sessions.

 

Presidential Search Committee


December 18, 2020
Dear Members of the Westfield State University Community:

On behalf of the University’s Presidential Search Committee I am pleased to share that we have reached an important milepost in the search process: finalization of our Presidential Leadership Profile.  You can access the profile and other information about the search on the search web site at https://www.westfield.ma.edu/presidential-search.  In addition, an advertisement for the position is now appearing online in 12 diverse higher education publications and will be posted for the next 30-60 days, depending upon the publication.

The Presidential Leadership Profile is the principal document that potential candidates will go to in order to learn about the University and, most especially, about the challenges and opportunities that Westfield State faces in the near future and the personal and professional qualities and qualifications we seek in the next president.

The work of developing the profile began early in the fall semester when the search committee and our search firm WittKieffer hosted campus-wide listening sessions and administered a survey, all to gather input from the University community and to prepare materials for the profile.  The Search Committee is grateful to all in the community who participated in the listening sessions and/or responded to the survey.  I believe you will find that the Leadership Profile reflects the feedback we received.

In addition to the above-mentioned advertisements, active recruitment of potential candidates is underway and will continue until mid-February.  The Search Committee wants to encourage everyone in the Westfield State University community to forward nominations of outstanding candidates to WSU-President@wittkieffer.com.  Any other thoughts or comments about the search can also be sent to that email address.  For full consideration, applications from candidates should be received by February 12, 2021.

The search for our next president is not just about recruiting and selecting the best candidate.  A successful search will present us with opportunities to come together as a community, to affirm our values and priorities, to think about the kind of university we are and would like to be.  Those conversations have started, and they will position us well to be attractive to potential candidates.  Your input shaped the Leadership Profile and will be extremely valuable as the search committee evaluates the candidate pool this winter and then brings finalist candidates to campus this spring.  We will continue to post additional information to the search web site.

One of the things I have taken away from the search thus far is the commitment and loyalty of faculty and staff to the University and especially to the welfare and success of its students.  We’ll keep that top-of-mind as we go forward with our search for Westfield’s next president.  Thank you for working with us.  Best wishes for a happy, healthy, safe, enjoyable holiday season and semester break.

For the search committee,

 

Robert A. Martin, Ph.D.
Trustee and Chair of the Search Committee


August 25, 2020
Dear Campus Community: 

I am pleased to share with you that Westfield State University’s search for its 21st president has officially begun, with the appointment of a Presidential Search Committee by the Board of Trustees at its August 21, 2020, meeting.

The Board of Trustees also approved the appointment of WittKieffer, a global search firm, to assist the search committee and the Westfield State community in the search for a new president. In the coming months, we will diligently work with WittKieffer to define the qualities and qualifications the University is looking for in its next leader as well as to build and evaluate a strong pool of candidates.

We also encourage the entire community to submit nominations or suggestions for potential candidates to WittKieffer’s consultants—Lucy Leske, Robert Luke, and Christine Pendleton—supporting this search. They may be reached via email at WSU-President@wittkieffer.com

The task of choosing a president is obviously an important one, but the search also affords an opportunity to come together as a community, to collectively engage in discussions about who we are as an institution, what we value, and what our aspirations are. In pursuing a common goal, I hope we will emerge from this search not only with an outstanding leader, but also as a stronger university, better understanding the values and goals that unite us. 

In a presidential search, much responsibility and work will be entrusted to the committee. A successful search will, however, also involve large segments of the Westfield State community. We are, after all, selecting a president for the entire University. As such, over the next several months there will be multiple opportunities for you to be involved in various critical aspects of the search. Shortly, you will have the chance to participate in a listening session and to respond to a survey—each of these are intended to provide the search committee with information about the desired qualifications we seek in our next president as well as the strengths, challenges, and opportunities that will greet this individual. Later—hopefully at the start of the spring semester—you will have an opportunity to meet the finalists and provide feedback to the search committee on your impressions. These meetings are important to the candidates as well, as they are forming perspectives about the university they may lead. 

We are committed to keeping the Westfield State community informed about the search’s progress and will regularly post news and updates to a website dedicated to it. The link to the website, which will serve as a repository of information related to Westfield State’s presidential search, will be shared with you in the coming days. In the meantime, please feel free to communicate with us—either via the search firm, at WSU-President@wittkieffer.com, or the search committee via Jean Beal at jbeal@westfield.ma.edu

Many thanks, and best wishes for a successful, safe, and healthy 2020-21 academic year. 

Sincerely, 

Robert A. Martin, Ph.D.
Trustee and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee