Presidential Search

News and Updates

To: The Reed College Community
From: Anna Hayes Levin, Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Date: September 15, 2011

This is the first of a regular series of messages you will receive over the next few months, all intended to keep you informed about the progress of the search for Reed College’s next president.

The Presidential Search Committee met for the first time on Friday, August 26. The chair of the board of trustees, Roger Perlmutter ’73, charged us with identifying and presenting up to three candidates from among whom the board of trustees will appoint Reed’s next president. We then interviewed three executive search firms and selected Isaacson Miller to assist the committee and the board in this search. Isaacson, Miller specializes in the recruitment of leaders for mission-driven organizations, with a particular focus in higher education. They recently worked on presidential searches for Dartmouth, Williams, Grinnell, Amherst, and Lewis & Clark. They also worked on Reed’s last presidential search, resulting in the appointment of Colin Diver in 2002.

The committee will first meet with the Isaacson, Miller team on September 22 to define the search process and prepare a timetable. In general, however, the search is expected to take approximately six months and consist of three phases: defining the institution and identifying the goals for the next president in a succinct document intended to attract and inform candidates, discovering and persuading the most talented people available to become candidates, and learning as much as we can about those candidates who we feel can most effectively lead the college at this point in its history.

We will need—and will soon actively seek—your help in the “definition” phase of the process, first through in-person sessions on campus and through online requests soliciting input from the Reed College community. Later, we will urge you to consider your own network of relationships to help us identify candidates.

Reed is stronger now than ever before. The search environment is favorable, with few competing searches and many institutions now limiting opportunities for internal advancement. Most importantly, as our current president Colin Diver told the trustees in June, being Reed’s president is “an enormously attractive job.” It’s going to be a great search.

Anna Hayes Levin