Search Update: April 2-4 Committee meetings and Search Consultants visit to campus

April 2 – 4 was a momentous week for the new search committee. Professors Melissa Clearfield (Psychology), Matt Reynolds (Art History and Visual Culture) and Marion Gotz (Chemistry) were elected by their peers to serve on the committee.

Meeting for the first time, the search committee began the process to get to know each other, build trust and create the environment where we can have candid discussions over the coming months.  The common thread binding all committee members is a shared commitment and passion for the liberal arts and sciences, and for the uniqueness of Whitman College.

Search consultants Shelly Storbeck and Julia Patton from Storbeck/Pimentel were also on campus meeting with the campus community.   They attended sixteen meetings during their visit, including two open forums for faculty, two for staff and one for students.  They met with President Bridges and Dr. Kari Tupper, faculty leaders, ASWC leaders, all of the senior administrators and the Athletic Director.   Throughout the meetings they received input from attendees on the following questions:

  • What would attract the next president to come to Whitman College?
  • What are the top priorities for the next president?
  • Given the answers to these first two questions, where is Whitman’s next president now and what is she/he doing ?

Attendees to the meetings were also encouraged to nominate individuals for the position, using the Storbeck / Pimentel web site or Presidential search email links.

The committee is working with the search consultants on the position description that will be shared in May with the community and all candidates.

Most committee members attended the open forums for faculty, staff and students.  The consultants took copious notes throughout their meetings and reported to the Committee that they were getting a good idea of what makes Whitman unique among highly selective liberal arts colleges. 

The committee is in the process of listening and learning to understand the community’s aspirations and the challenges facing the next President.   A survey will be available in the coming weeks on the search web site and everyone is encouraged to complete the survey, answering the questions noted above and also to submit names of individuals who might be a great 14th President of Whitman College.  

Co-Chairs Nancy Serrurier and Janice Abraham will host an open forum for all Walla Walla-based alumni and parents on April 29th at Reid Campus Center.  Details on the meeting will be shared later.