Ball State begins search for new president

Ball State University's board of trustees has named a 16-member search committee and a consulting firm to lead its search for a new president.

The consultant, Witt/Kiefer of Oak Brook, Illinois, will be paid a professional fee of $115,000 plus other search-related expenses, The Star Press of Muncie reported. The consulting firm's average length of time for presidential searches is about six months, possibly giving Ball State a new president by mid-October.

Witt/Kiefer says it expects the job to attract 400 to 500 candidates, prospects and nominees.

"We expect the majority of prospects will be sitting senior leaders from peer and related colleges and universities," the consultants reported in their proposal to Ball State. "The board and search committee play a major role in guiding the search strategy, and if they direct us to explore non-traditional candidates, we will target aligned leaders across a variety of sectors, including … private sector corporations, government agencies, and relevant trade associations."

Trustees board chairman Rick Hall says the time frame sounds reasonable but emphasized there is no rush to find the best candidate. The board on Friday announced the members of its search panel, which will be led by trustee Matt Momper.

The board's last presidential hire, Paul Ferguson, was signed to a five-year contract starting Aug. 1, 2014, but he lasted only 17 months, resigning for reasons that have not been explained. Ferguson left with a severance package costing the university about $500,000.

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