The Barnard board of trustees hopes to have the next president of the college in place by September, Chair of the Board of Trustees Jolyne Caruso-FitzGerald, BC ’81, announced at a Student Government Association meeting last month.
The new president will replace Debora Spar, who will resign from her position in March to become CEO and president of Lincoln Center. But as the college searches for Spar’s replacement, Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldberg will act as the interim president.
Caruso-FitzGerald said that the presidential search committee—composed of trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, and students—is hopeful, but “not committed,” to a September deadline. She also said that the search will most likely last between four to six months, a goal similar to the four-and-a-half month search for Spar in 2008.
The first step of the search process, according to Caruso-FitzGerald, will be “listening tours” held in the Diana Center at the end of this month. The tours will be an open forum for students to discuss the qualities they want to see in the next president with members of the search committee.
The finalized dates for these tours have yet to be announced. For students unable to attend the listening tours, Caruso-FitzGerald said they would still be able to provide their feedback through the college’s presidential search website.
After gathering input from the Barnard community, the search committee will draft a two-page position specifications document encapsulating what the job of the Barnard president entails.
The committee will aim to have this report finished in early February, when the search will begin in earnest. Spencer Stuart—the professional search firm that Barnard has enlisted to help in the search process—will then compile a list of candidates based on the position specifications.
Caruso-FitzGerald noted that senior member of Spencer Stuart’s Education, Nonprofit, and Government Practice Jennifer Bol will be leading the firm’s team, as she did in 2008 when Barnard used the firm in the last presidential search.
“[Bol] really understands Barnard, so I’m very, very confident that she will be able to help us find the best next president of the college,” Caruso-FitzGerald said.
The search committee will hold meetings to continuously narrow the list of candidates and aims to have a final candidate to present to the board for approval in April.
Caruso-FitzGerald emphasized that the search process is highly confidential and that there will be no interim updates. Members of the search committee must sign a confidentiality agreement, and search committee meetings will be held off-campus.