The latest update on the status of the search from the co-chairs of the Presidential Search Committee (PSC) ...

On November 4th and 5th, the Presidential Search Committee (PSC) spent time with the 10 exceptional and accomplished individuals under consideration for the presidency. We conducted a formal structured interview with each candidate, in which every member of the committee had an opportunity to ask questions of the candidate. Candidates also had an opportunity to ask questions of the committee. After each interview, every committee member shared their perspectives on each candidate with the entire PSC. We are looking forward to continuing the conversation with five candidates that the committee decided to advance to the next round of interviews, which will take place over a three-day period in December.

As mentioned in the last update, the December interviews will include a larger set of community members who will meet with the candidates. The 11 additional community members who will have the opportunity to meet with the candidates are not being added to the search committee, nor will this group participate in deliberations of the PSC when selecting the final slate of candidates to be forwarded to the Board of Trustees for final selection. Of these 11 people, 7 are “community leaders”, in the sense that they are elected advocates, chosen democratically by their relevant constituencies (students, faculty, staff) to advance their interests. They were chosen to participate in the interview process by virtue of their elected status--not to “represent” their constituency (that is the role of the members of the search committee), but because these are individuals for whom the community has registered trust in their judgment. The PSC believes their opinions on the candidates would be helpful in the committee’s deliberations. This group of 7 will meet with each candidate as a unit, and will then provide their feedback to the search committee.

The other four individuals--the Vice Presidents that are not on the search committee--will also meet with the candidates in a (separate) group setting. They, too, will provide input to the search committee in much the same manner as the 7 “community leaders” participating in the interviews. In this case, they were chosen to provide input to the search committee by virtue of their roles and their important set of responsibilities in the management of the College. These individuals also will report directly to the new President, so there is the added value of introducing candidates to the members of the community with whom they will be working on a daily basis, if chosen as Oxy’s next President.

The search committee will consider these additional inputs as it deliberates on the candidates who will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees. The Trustees have charged the PSC to forward 2-3 individuals that they have confidence can serve, with distinction, as Oxy’s 16th President. This process strikes an appropriate balance between limiting the risk of candidates’ public exposure and gathering as much input as possible from members of the community to inform the PSC’s deliberations.

We would like to emphasize that community voices have been an important part of the presidential search process since the onset of the search, with a position profile that reflects the key wishes and concerns of community stakeholders and as gathered in community listening sessions and online feedback forms. Members of the larger Oxy community will continue to have an opportunity, in the coming weeks (prior to the December interviews), to provide input to the PSC and to the additional interviewers about issues that candidates should be asked to address in this next round of conversations.

On behalf of the PSC, we would like to express our gratitude for all of the community voices that have weighed in to date, and we look forward to your continued participation.


Coit (Chip) Blacker, ‘72 Committee co-chair
Wendy Sternberg, Committee co-chair