ETSU will be looking for a new president
4 Roadblocks to Hiring Public-University Leaders
Economics. The challenges of the economic climate can affect searches in many ways. Prospective candidates may have an upside-down mortgage, owing more money than their home is currently worth, and/or may live in a housing market where property is not selling or is slow to sell. A candidate recently told us that he could no longer consider administrative posts at public universities, because public boards couldn't match the salary that he received from his private university and couldn't waive tuition for his children. He wanted to make one more career move, but he had to base his decision not only on mutual interest and a good fit with an institution, but also on the compensation and asset management it could offer.
Some excellent would-be candidates feel it would be disloyal to leave their university and its challenges in difficult economic times. They may have a spouse or partner who has little promise of a new job in a new location. Further, the possibility of membership changes on boards of trustees after new governors are elected may increase candidates' anxiety: "The board that hired me may not be there in a year."
Politics. Some believe that the work of university leaders has become so political and resource-driven that presidents are being removed from the core mission of the university, which is teaching and learning. When we asked current presidents what can be done to make their positions more attractive, many emphasized that they wanted more support from the board, which would help them obtain more funds from legislators and donors and would allow them to make tough decisions without fear of public backlash. They also wanted to be evaluated on the basis of their overall performance rather than their political and fund-raising success.