Akron president out after public pursuit of another job
- University of Akron President Matthew Wilson will step down after a public, failed bid for the University of Central Florida presidency, according to Inside Higher Ed. Wilson, who was named a finalist, will resign without pressure from trustees, but observers say that his public declarations for UCF, and his short tenure as permanent president (16 months) set the foundation for a potentially rocky tenure in his current position.
- Wilson will return to Akron's law school to serve as a faculty member. He said that his seemingly quick entry into a presidential search was after serving four years at Akron, including his time as a dean and as interim and permanent president.
- Wilson's experience is one that prohibits a lot of strong presidential candidates from considering public institutions with strict sunshine laws on presidential nominees and finalists, said Jan Greenwood, an executive search consultant and co-owner of Greenwood/Asher & Associates. “For those who take a risk if they are already a president, it raises the question of whether or not coming back home is viable,” she told Inside Higher Ed.
Presidential hopefuls enter every search knowing that they could be exposed by typical interview and selection processes, or by potential leaks by committee members. But institutions and applicants can take special approaches to maintain search integrity while protecting individual and institutional interests.
For instance, institutions can use search firms to advertise and solicit packages from ideal candidates, while candidates can be upfront with boards about their interest in other campuses. While this may not induce confidence from trustees in ambitious presidents, it can serve institutions well in determining how valuable their president may be and what the cost may be to keep him or her. Likewise, it can allow colleges and universities time to closely assess what the president brings to the campus community.
Additionally, trustees should work with presidents to clearly define mutual institutional goals, expectations and metrics of success. With boards and presidents working to hit specific measurements of achievement, leaders are likely to be engaged in the prospect of completing goals while trustees are invested in securing resources for projects and programs.
- Inside Higher Ed The perils of presidential job hopping