WMU News

Board selects search consultant

Sept. 19, 1997

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- Western Michigan University has retained the services of Korn/Ferry International as a consultant in the search for a new president to replace Dr. Diether H. Haenicke, who is stepping down as president next year to return to the faculty.

"Korn/Ferry International is one of the world's leading management consulting firms specializing in executive recruitment," said Richard G. Haworth of Holland, chairperson of the WMU Board of Trustees. The board approved the appointment Sept. 19 from among several consultants considered.

"Korn/Ferry was the first major search firm to establish a formalized education practice," Haworth continued. "It has dedicated education offices in Washington, D.C., Dallas and Los Angeles. Its clients have included a wide range of private and public universities and not-for-profit organizations."

Dr. John H. Kuhnle (pron. KOON-lee), a member of the Korn/Ferry's Washington, D.C., staff, has been identified as the principal consultant for WMU's search. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior executive search. Korn/Ferry is the firm that assisted WMU in its search for a president in 1985, when Haenicke was named to the post.

"We have the highest confidence in Korn/Ferry and we look forward to the firm's valuable assistance as our search proceeds," said Haworth, who also is chairperson of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee.

The board established the committee July 25. It already includes Haworth and trustees Richard F. Chormann of Kalamazoo, vice chairperson of the committee; and Lori B. Waddles of Detroit, vice chairperson of the board.

The board has sought nominees from various constituencies to create four constituent groups to help assure broad-based participation in the search process. It is from the members of these groups that the board will appoint members to the Presidential Search Advisory Committee. Each group and the committee include representatives of the faculty, students, administrators, staff members and alumni/ general public.

"The four constituent groups, which include members of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, will meet in one session each with the search consultant to help develop an institutional profile and desired presidential characteristics," Haworth explained. "The committee also will conduct an open meeting to seek input from the entire University community."

Members of the constituent groups and the advisory committee are expected to be named soon and dates for sessions will be determined, Haworth said. The position specifications are to be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval at its next meeting on Oct. 31.

Once a position description is approved, the position will be advertised. The committee will seek out candidates "observing the equal opportunity/affirmative action and other relevant personnel policies and applicable state and federal law and following proven procedures that will lead to the appointment of the best qualified person for the presidency," the board stated in a resolution establishing the advisory committee.

By spring 1998, the committee expects to present the names of five unranked finalists to the full board, as required by the state's open meetings law. Once five candidates are identified, the board by law must wait 30 days before making an appointment. The finalists will be invited to the campus for public presentations. They also will be interviewed in a public session of the Board of Trustees.

Individuals are encouraged to contact the Presidential Search Advisory Committee through its secretary, Betty Kocher, secretary to the Board of Trustees. Her telephone number is 616 387-2360 and her email address is betty.kocher@wmich.edu. The latest information on the search is available on the World Wide Web at www.wmich.edu/wmu/search/

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