The pace appears to be picking up for those searching for the next president of Kent State.
KSU trustees have met privately three times in the past six weeks, one time for six hours and on Monday for 90 minutes.
Meanwhile the official search committee, cross-pollinated by both university and community representatives, has met three times in the past four weeks.
No announcements have been made, and it’s unknown when they will be.
“I have no information on when they’re going to announce,” KSU spokesman Eric Mansfield said. “We’ll do it when the trustees are ready.”
The 17-member search committee has been meeting since late August to find a replacement for retiring President Lester Lefton, effective next July 1.
They have been tight-lipped about the search and have not released the names of contenders except for the 20 or so candidates who took the initiative to apply on their own.
Those applications include former broadcaster Tim White, a news anchor on Cleveland’s NBC affiliate in Cleveland from 1999 to 2008 now living in Virginia; and Frederic White, a professor emeritus of the Cleveland State law school and now a law professor at Texas A&M University.
The field appears to be much wider than those 20.
In September, search committee chairman and Trustee Richard Marsh said the university had received about 70 applications through its online portal, according to the KSU student journalist website Kentwired.
Like other colleges and universities, however, KSU also hired a professional search firm to help ferret out candidates with the special attributes the committee says it needs in the next president — from the ability to govern jointly with faculty to fundraising.
KSU has referred all applicants to Storbeck/Pimental and Associates of Media, Pa., which will receive $161,000 plus expenses for its work.
That is the way KSU found Lefton in 2006.
Jerry Baker of the recruiting firm Baker Parker and Associates said at the time that he fielded applications from 128 candidates for his $90,000 fee plus expenses. He referred about 20 candidates to the search committee, which winnowed that to three finalists whom it interviewed off campus.
Lefton was selected and unveiled to trustees, the public and students in a rush of publicity. That process angered some faculty who wanted to weigh in on a handful of candidates.
Some colleges and universities provide public forums for their faculty and staff to meet finalists. The University of Idaho, for example, has publicized the names of five finalists; Alabama State, four; and Eastern Kentucky, three.
That is just a sample of the competition, with many large universities — the University of Akron, Ohio State, Penn State and the University of Michigan among them — also seeking new leaders.
With KSU on recess from Tuesday until early next year, few students, faculty or staff would be around in the next couple of weeks to interview candidates.
Mansfield said no additional meetings have been scheduled for either the search committee or trustees.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3729.