Tech hosts presidential search team

Members from the Georgia Tech Presidential Search Committee, who are charged with selecting candidates for Tech’s next president, spent Tuesday listening to input from faculty, staff and students at the Student Center Theater. During the session for undergraduate students, Willis Potts, chairman of the search committee, and Bill Funk, head of Dallas-based consulting firm of R. William Funk & Associates, took the stage in front of around 30 students.

“There are 20 total [members] on the committee. All have [Tech] pedigrees through education or are faculty members [at Tech]…. So our white and gold bleeding is solid and we’re trying to find the best president we can find for this institution,” Potts said.

Although not a member of the search committee, Funk was brought in to help with the process of identifying potential candidates. Funk has conducted searches that have led to selection of presidents and chancellors at nearly 70 universities, including University of Illinois – Urbana and Tulane University.

Potts said the search committee had met with 12 groups over the past few days and plans meeting with every possible constituency in order to understand what the search committee should be looking for in a potential candidate.

“I want to ensure… the undergraduate population that the [Georgia Board of Regents] and the chancellor wanted us… to come on campus at the outset of this process and sit and meet with the various constituents, recognizing your important roll as one of the primary constituents and gain your feedback,” Potts said.

Over the next 30 to 45 days, the search committee will continue to meet with the different invested parties and will finalize the initial list of potential candidates. Starting at around 100 candidates, the committee will reduce the list to 10 potential prospects.

These 10 will be invited to Atlanta to be personally interviewed by the search committee. These 10 will be narrowed down to five nominees, who will then be interviewed by the Board of Regents. From these interviews, the Board of Regents will publish the names of the three finalists, and according to Potts, the Board of Regents will make their final decision in March 2009.

Students attending the meeting explained the characteristicsc they wanted to see in the new president. These included proactively communicating with the student body and continuing the drive for students to gain international experience. Students also told the committee members that they were interested in a president who would be committed to bringing Tech to the next level.

“A description from… =one of the deans or one of the department heads…called [Tech] a fast follower, as opposed to a leader, and the next president needs to move [Tech] to being a leader,” Potts said.

According to Funk, the search committee will be looking at a wide range of candidates. Besides those in academia, they will also look for people in the areas of business, philanthropy and government service. The committee is also weighing the candidates’ experience with large budgets, exposure to intercollegiate athletics, aptitude for fundraising, skills to effectively lobby the legislature and ability to work efficiently with the other universities.