The Shimer College Presidential Search Committee was established in June 2011, pursuant to a decision by the Board of Trustees in May, and by consensus between the Board and the Assembly, representing faculty, staff, and students as well as Board members. The Search Committee consisted of ten members (five trustees, two faculty members, two students, and one staff member), who worked intensively and cooperatively with one another through email, phone, and in three face-to-face meetings. The position, to be filled by July 1, 2012, was advertised in the Chronicle of Higher Education and online in July 2010, with a priority consideration deadline for applications of September 15, 2011.
Over 60 people applied for the position, many of them with strong qualifications. With the help of an experienced search consultant, the Search Committee identified twelve candidates for intensive investigation, including videoconference interviews with nine, which took place in November 2010. Three finalists were interviewed again by videoconference in December and on-campus interviews were conducted between January 23 and 31, 2012 for intensive two-day visits. During these visits, the three finalists met with all major College constituencies (board, faculty, staff, students), sat in on classes, and made public remarks that were recorded and made available to those community members, particularly alumni, who could not attend the presentations.
The final decision on selection was made by the Board of Trustees at its normal winter meeting, February 10-12, 2012, but only after the Shimer College Assembly had extensive opportunities to consider and discuss the candidates, and after the Board received the Assembly’s advice.
It is public knowledge that the results of Shimer’s last presidential search were not successful, since the candidate selected at that time was asked to resign by the Board after less than two years in office. The more recent search has been conducted both more systematically and transparently, without any last-minute candidacies. Every serious candidate was carefully vetted by the search consultant and reviewed in detail by the Committee in intensive discussions. Candidate confidentiality was maintained throughout, until the Search Committee released the names of the finalists publicly on Wednesday, January 4, 2012.
The Chair of the Search Committee is Robert O. Keohane (Shimer B.A. 1961), Professor of Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.