The candidate search committeee's meeting schedule and the minutes from its meetings are public information provided by the University's Board of Trustees.
Minutes for Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008, 11:30 a.m.
IV. South Carolina and University Human Resources Policies and Procedures: Chairman Loadholt called on Mrs. Jameson who reviewed the following Human Resources policies and procedures:
She initially stressed that because the committee is searching for a public official, most of their activities will be conducted in the public arena.
If the chair so directs, committee members' responsibilities will be to use their business and educational contacts in order to help identify, recruit, vet and finally recommend a group (4) of fully acceptable candidates to the Board of Trustees.
Their search work must be done while complying with federal and state laws and University regulations regarding equal employment. Good faith efforts must be demonstrated to recruit minority candidates and women candidates. Mrs. Jameson noted that all University search committees are asked to appoint an affirmative action advocate.
Discussing the advertising plan, she commented that in addition to advertising in the customary publications such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, the committee will want to consider targeted announcements as well as contacting sitting presidents of research institutions, possibly their chief academic officers and various chairs of Boards of Trustees. In the previous search, approximately $30,000 had been expended. Mrs. Jameson hoped to target close to that same amount for this search and urged the committee to identify soon the type of advertisement so that deadlines can be met.
Mrs. Jameson advised that local or internal candidates should be afforded the same degree of open mindedness, sense of discovery, and intellectual curiosity from the committee as the unknown candidates receive. By the same token, these internal or local candidates should have the same critical analysis applied to them as external candidates.
She also talked about the use of an executive search firm. During the previous search, several firms had been interviewed and one selected. She urged the committee to complete this task as quickly as possible.
And, finally, Mrs. Jameson discussed presidential compensation which, she noted, totaled $552,482 for Dr. Sorensen; his base state salary is $247,482. In December 2007, the University president's state appropriated salary range was raised by the Agency Head Salary Commission to a new minimum of $232,000 with a new midpoint of approximately $295,000 and a new maximum of approximately $360,000.
According to state law, the University is required to hire at the minimum of that range unless an approval for an exception is given from the Agency Head Salary Commission as well as from the Budget and Control Board. Mrs. Jameson advised that an exception was approved for the University previously.
Mrs. Jameson further noted for committee consideration that in November 2007 (last year's salary information) The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that eight sitting presidents of public universities were earning combined compensation packages in excess of $700,000 per president. Those institutions are Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, Virginia, University of Washington, Delaware, Georgia State, and the University of Texas System. She suggested that the University may have to raise its current compensation package considerably in order to be competitive.
Institutions in the southeast currently in a search mode or with a vacant presidency are UNC at Chapel Hill, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, University of Arkansas and Vanderbilt University.
Secretary Stepp advised the committee that he had received information from six search firms expressing an interest in working with the University.
Mrs. Jameson explained that in the past, rather than follow the lengthy RFP process to choose a company, through the auspices of the Foundations Office, a smaller group (subcommittee) of the search committee had asked various executive search firms whether they were interested in presenting information to the committee; companies best meeting the needs of the committee were subsequently invited to campus to give a presentation.
Chairman Loadholt suggested that a subcommittee be appointed to review the various executive firms; to recommend three firms to the committee; and to invite them to make a presentation to the committee. Mr. Smith suggested that the committee be proactive in establishing the terms. Secretary Stepp noted that during the previous two presidential searches, the individual search committee had selected specific services for a particular firm to perform and then had negotiated a price.
Secretary Stepp believed that the most valuable commodity search firms offer is the ability to communicate openly with prospective presidents. In addition, he stressed that these companies "know the market" and the names of those individuals available for new positions.
Mr. Smith moved that the committee engage a search firm based on conditions determined by the committee. Dr. Best seconded the motion. The vote was taken, and the motion carried.
In response to Chairman Loadholt's suggestion about appointing a subcommittee, Mr. Smith moved that the chair appoint a three-person subcommittee to suggest the names of search firms to this committee. Secretary Stepp recommended that the motion be amended as follows: that the subcommittee bring to this committee for its ratification terms and conditions to propose to the search firm as well as a list of three search firms for consideration. Mr. Bethea seconded the motion as amended. The vote was taken, and the motion carried.
Chairman Loadholt appointed the following three members to the subcommittee: Mr. Smith as chair; Mr. Foster; and Mr. Lister.
Addressing the importance of confidentiality, as Mr. Parham discussed earlier, Secretary Stepp emphasized that the life and career of sitting presidents are potentially within their hands if names are discussed outside the parameters of this committee; he asked that everyone be mindful of that possibility.
Regarding confidentiality in the public arena, it was decided that the policy of this committee will be that the chairman is its sole spokesperson.
Secretary Stepp summarized the next steps: 1) as soon as possible, scheduling the joint session with the trustees; 2) subcommittee review of executive firms; 3) drafting an outline of a position advertisement by Mrs. Jameson for committee consideration.
It was decided that Secretary Stepp would draft a questionnaire about presidential qualities to circulate to Board members as a preliminary instrument to facilitate and expedite a clear, understandable meeting with the Board. It was suggested that the committee might meet with the Board of Trustees on Friday, February 1, following the conclusion of the previously scheduled Board of Trustees meetings on that day.
Also discussed was a tentative target date for hiring a new president. Secretary Stepp remarked that the length of previous searches had been approximately eight months. He suggested July 31, 2008, the day Dr. Sorensen had announced he planned to retire as University president, was the target date.
Since there were no other matters to be discussed, Chairman Loadholt declared the meeting adjourned at 1:20 p.m.
Thomas L. Stepp
Columbia, SC 29208 • 803-777-3106 firstname.lastname@example.org
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