Preliminary interviews for Brandon University’s top job could begin in May.
Deborah Poff, president and vice-chancellor of the university is slated to step down from her post at the end of July after she stated she wouldn’t seek a second mandate last year.
"We’re in the process right now of developing our long list of candidates," said Laura McDougald-Williams, chair of the presidential search committee.
The 19-member committee — made up of various faculty, community members, the students’ union and labour union reps — is bound by a signed confidentiality agreement since it claims recruitments of this calibre are highly sensitive.
According to McDougald-Williams, B.C.-based Harry Parslow of the search firm Caldwell Partners International was recruited in the fall and has been in "extensive" discussions with the area’s various organizations, including the school’s faculty and students, Assiniboine Community College and Prairie Mountain Health.
McDougald-Williams said she hasn’t been aware of any suggestions or correspondents from the provincial government in the process.
During a consultation meeting with students in January, only eight attended, according to an article in
BU’s student newspaper, The Quill.
While at the helm, Poff weathered a 45-day faculty strike between October and November 2011 and implemented the "Build 2010" plan, which included adding masters in psychiatric nursing and masters of environmental and life sciences to the school’s offerings.
"Dr. Poff put us in a good direction with the ‘Build 2010’ strategic plan, so I think the hope of the committee is that our new president will build relationships with the university campus and get to know the community," McDougald-Williams said.
BU’s Healthy Living Centre was completed and the university has forged ahead to build more student housing under Poff’s direction.
McDougald-Williams said a new strategic plan will likely be drawn up in the first months of the new president’s term.
McDougald-Williams couldn’t say how many applications have been received or how long the hiring process will take.
Through a series of meetings since the fall, the committee drew up a "profile" of the ideal candidate to take over as the head of the city’s university.
"We want someone that is a strong visionary leader, but someone — personality-wise — who can be approachable ... someone that is going to work hard for Brandon University’s best interest and build united vision of where the university is going to go," McDougald-Williams said.
Once her five-year term is complete, Poff will get a one-year administrative leave. As a professor of philosophy, Poff said earlier this year she has plans to do research for a book that she has been working on for a number of years. She said the book, entitled "A World of Good," is a philosophical treatise on goodness researched through interviews with people who have spent their lives in public service.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 17, 2014