Presidential Search

Delaware Valley University seeks its next president to explore and execute strategic growth for our 125-year-old institution. The vision of DelVal's founder - “science with practice” - is fully realized today in our award-winning Experience 360 program. We encourage you to explore the website such as Programs and Life at DelVal to learn more about our unique offerings and the student experience here on campus.

The DelVal Presidential Search Committee is working with Diversified Search Group (DSG). Their representative executives are Andrew Wheeler and Kim Morrisson.

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Position Description
The county theater downtown Doylestown
About Doylestown

Nestled in beautiful Bucks County, PA, under 30 miles north of Philadelphia, Doylestown combines classic architecture, history, recreation and picturesque landscapes.

SUBMIT A QUESTION FOR CANDIDATES

PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS HERE

Search Update

The Search Committee is working with Diversified and internal constituencies to vet candidates for this exceptional opportunity. Following are details of the committee, process and timeline.

The Search Process
  • Jimmy Cheek, Trustee
  • Fred Cope ’69, Trustee     
  • Joy Levy, Trustee
  • Kate Littlefield, Trustee, Committee Chair
  • Jeff Marshall ’00, Trustee  
  • Gary Ulrich ’82, Trustee
  • Allison Buskirk-Cohen, Faculty
  • Cory Kieschnick, M.S. ’07, Faculty
  • Christine Seel, Faculty
  • Andrew Moyer, Staff
  • Kathy Payne, Staff
  • Kate Reilly, Committee Coordinator (non-voting position)

The search firm that has been selected to support the Committee’s efforts is Diversified Search Group (DSG).

Their representative executives are Andrew Wheeler and Kim Morrisson.

March – Early April 2021

• Consultants meet with Search Committee members to discuss the position, candidate profile, process, timeline, and strategy.

• Consultants meet with groups of stakeholders to discuss position and candidate profile.

• Diversified Search revises the position description based upon feedback, develops posting copy, and places postings.

May – June

• Begin active recruitment and assessment of candidates by Diversified Search (ongoing).

• Create secure web portal to house candidate materials. Bi-weekly calls with the Search Committee chair to review progress.

• Monthly progress report meetings with Search Committee.

Late June – July

• Search Committee convenes to select candidates for first-round interviews (slate review).

• Diversified Search prepares interview questions and evaluation tools.

• Search Committee interviews candidates and selects at least three finalists.

Late July

• Finalist candidates meet by invitation with extended groups of stakeholders.

• Feedback mechanism is created for those who meet candidates.

• Intensive referencing and background checks conducted on finalists.

• Search Committee makes recommendation to the Board 

August

• Negotiation of compensation and terms with candidate.

• Appointment announced.

By September 1

• The new placement starts.

Search Communications

Greetings, DelVal Community!

The Presidential Search Committee initiated the search process with its first meeting on Friday, March 26. As the Committee begins its search, we want every member of the Delaware Valley University community to understand the process that has been selected, who is on the Search Committee, what groups will be involved with designing the job description, and who will be involved with the final candidates’ interviews. The Committee wants to assure everyone that they will be sending progress reports to the community at least monthly, and, when required, weekly. Since this memo is the first, let’s start with the facts.

Our Search Committee is balanced and representative. It is composed of 11 members: six trustees, three faculty, and two staff. Three have experience with presidential searches. Five members teach or have taught at universities. At least six have corporate experience. Three are alumni. The Search Committee is:  

  • Jimmy Cheek, Trustee
  • Fred Cope ’69, Trustee     
  • Joy Levy, Trustee
  • Kate Littlefield, Trustee, Committee Chair
  • Jeff Marshall ’00, Trustee  
  • Gary Ulrich ’82, Trustee
  • Allison Buskirk-Cohen, Faculty
  • Cory Kieschnick, M.S. ’07, Faculty
  • Christine Seel, Faculty
  • Andrew Moyer, Staff
  • Kathy Payne, Staff
  • Kate Reilly, Committee Coordinator (non-voting position)

I would like to thank the members of our community who have graciously committed to play leadership roles in this process.

The Search Firm

The search firm that has been selected to support the Committee’s efforts is  Diversified Search Group (DSG) .

Their representative executives are Andrew Wheeler and Kim Morrisson. 

A Hybrid Approach to Share Responsibility and Information

In order to yield the largest pool of candidates from both higher ed and/or the corporate sector, and to protect potential candidates from undue exposure that would threaten their current positions or damage their professional reputations, Trustee leadership has decided to employ a hybrid information-sharing approach. Such a hybrid approach has some of the characteristics of an open approach (like that used at many land-grant institutions) and one of the characteristics of a closed search process. The hybrid process is more open at the front end (developing the job description), and more opaque at the back end.

However, to bridge the need for greater transparency with the at-large university community, the Search Committee has decided to employ conferencing technology, like Zoom, in the final interview stage. In this stage, applicants’ identities would be masked during open sessions, but participants would be able to ask questions and get answers in real time. The Search Committee is sensitive to the fact that this approach has seldom, if ever, been used in prior DVU searches; however, DSG has advised the Committee that without such assurances of their identities being protected, many candidates will simply drop out of the search, or never apply in the first place. The Search Committee believes that the hybrid model can protect these individuals, give the community the transparency it deserves, and provide a pool of the best qualified candidates to meet the University’s needs. 

The Timeline

We hope to have our new president in place as soon as September and perhaps as late as January. While this is an aggressive timeline, the Search Committee will never prematurely recommend a candidate for hire in order to satisfy a self-imposed deadline. We will continue to search until we find the best individual for the job. That’s a promise.

The suggested timeline created by DSG is as follows:

TIMEFRAME TASKS

March – Early April 2021

• Consultants meet with Search Committee members to discuss the position, candidate profile, process, timeline, and strategy.

• Consultants meet with groups of stakeholders to discuss position and candidate profile.

• Diversified Search revises the position description based upon feedback, develops posting copy, and places postings.

May – June

• Begin active recruitment and assessment of candidates by Diversified Search (ongoing).

• Create secure web portal to house candidate materials. Bi-weekly calls with the Search Committee chair to review progress.

• Monthly progress report meetings with Search Committee.

Late June – July

• Search Committee convenes to select candidates for first-round interviews (slate review).

• Diversified Search prepares interview questions and evaluation tools.

• Search Committee interviews candidates and selects at least three finalists.

Late July

• Finalist candidates meet by invitation with extended groups of stakeholders.

• Feedback mechanism is created for those who meet candidates.

• Intensive referencing and background checks conducted on finalists.

• Search Committee makes recommendation to the Board 

August

• Negotiation of compensation and terms with candidate.

• Appointment announced.

By September 1

• The new placement starts.

First Task: The Job Description

The first, and maybe the most important, task is getting the job description right. That will involve representatives of all stakeholder groups – faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees, donors, partners, and local community members. The input of these groups is essential. Without it, the presidential search will fail. While we have already identified the Cabinet, Leadership Team, Faculty Council, Presidential Staff Advisory Committee, President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, Student Government Board, Alumni Council, and Board of Trustees, we have not yet fully compiled our list of stakeholder representatives. The Search Committee expects to complete this list by the end of the week. So as not to lose time, Kate Reilly and the collaborators at DSG will immediately begin arranging Zoom sessions for these stakeholder groups, centered around identifying the necessary skills and characteristics of our next university leader. Once these conversations are completed, DSG will draft the position description, and the Search Committee will review and approve it.

Stakeholder groups’ next task will be interviewing the finalists. While it is too early to fully describe this final phase, I can share that most of our meetings will be held via videoconference, and the Search Committee will do its best to ensure that the finalists can come to campus with the necessary health precautions in place.

I and the entire Search Committee look forward to speaking with specific groups in person if they so desire. Regardless, everyone can count on regular contact, whether in person or in writing. I feel I can speak for the group when I say that we understand that this is the most consequential leadership search in which we have participated. We understand what is at stake, and we intend to succeed. 

If, at any time, you have any questions or comments for the Search Committee, please email presidentialsearch@delval.edu

Many Thanks,

Kate Littlefield

Presidential Search Committee Chair, on behalf of the Committee

Greetings & Happy Summer!

It has been almost two months since I last updated the DelVal community on the presidential search. As is the case with so many things in life, it always takes longer than you think it will. Well, as they say, better late than never!

I am happy to report that the Presidential Search Committee is functioning exceptionally well. There hasn’t been a single obstacle that hasn’t been collectively overcome. Every document has been made better by the constructive touch of every member. If, in your travels, you should pass by any of the individuals listed below, please thank them for their efforts. This is not easy work.

The Committee:

Trustees

  • Jimmy Cheek                                
  • Fred Cope ’69                                
  • Joy Levy
  • Kate Littlefield, Committee Chair 
  • Jeff Marshall ’00        
  • Gary Ulrich ’82 

Faculty  

  • Allison Buskirk-Cohen**       
  • Cory Kieschnick, M.S. ’07     
  • Christine Seel 

** Allison joined the Committee in April

Staff

  • Andrew Moyer                      
  • Kathy Payne                          
  • Kate Reilly, Coordinator

Let’s begin with the information-gathering sessions that were conducted by Kim Morrisson and Andrew Wheeler of Diversified Search Group (DSG). DSG held 27 sessions for faculty, staff, students, Trustees, alumni, and community partners to discuss skill sets and characteristics important in the University’s next president. An email address was provided for those who wanted to give their input but could not join any of these sessions. The total number of participants in this stage of the process was 138. To all those who did take the time to respond to our invitations, thank you. Your input was invaluable in shaping the presidential job description. When you read it, the Committee hopes you can hear your own voice.

Between feedback offered in sessions and submitted via email, the 138 participants in this stage of the process broke down as follows:

  • Faculty                        46
  • Staff                            43
  • Students                       4
  • Trustees                       21
  • Alumni                        17
  • Community Partners.   7

DSG took the raw data yielded from this feedback and, in the first week of May, returned it as a first draft of the position description for the Committee to review. The Committee spent the better part of May refining the position description, through multiple drafts, until we felt that we had it right. I know that I speak for every member of the Committee – as well as DSG – when I say that we are well satisfied with what we have accomplished thus far, and we are pleased to share the final position description with the community; it can be accessed here.

While Kim and Andrew at DSG curate a pool of qualified candidates, based on the criteria in the position description, for the Presidential Search Committee to review and select from, the Committee again asks members of the DelVal community for their input, this time by submitting questions that can be used during the interview process. Please submit your question(s) via this survey by Friday, June 11. There is also an email address for sharing comments and concerns, which is presidentialsearch@delval.edu. We are committed to responding to all queries that we receive.

In addition to questions for our applicants, anyone who would like to nominate an individual for the position may do so by emailing their nomination directly to DSG at DelValPresident@divsearch.com.

You should expect another report as soon as all questions have been collected. The next topic the Committee will approach is conducting the most transparent interview process possible, given that our finalists’ identities will be protected. More to come. In the meantime, please visit delval.edu/presidential-search for more information about the search and the University.

Thank you for your continued engagement in the search process.

Kate Littlefield

Presidential Search Committee Chair, on behalf of the Committee

Contact
Kate Reilly, Committee Coordinator