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Based on the announcement by Dr. William Destler that he will retire on June 30, 2017, the process began to select RIT’s 10th president. A Presidential Search Committee, led by Trustee and past Board Chair Brian Hall, was announced in early June and included broad representation through a process of nominations submitted by the various governing bodies across the university. Isaacson, Miller was the Search Firm selected by the Committee to assist with the search. The search process involved receiving input from various constituent groups including input from RIT alumni chapters across the nation.

The Board of Trustees, with input from the RIT community, announced the selection of David C. Munson Jr. as Rochester Institute of Technology’s 10th president on January 25, 2017. Please feel free to submit your input and questions to nextprez@rit.edu.

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Who was responsible for choosing the next president?

The Board of Trustees holds the ultimate responsibility for hiring the next president. The Board recognized and valued the critical importance of key stakeholder participation in the presidential search process with regard to providing input around institutional needs and the evaluation and vetting of candidates. This critical role was reflected in the composition of the Search Committee, which was charged with presenting the Board with a recommended slate of the best-qualified candidates for their consideration.

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What was the role of the Search Committee?

The role of the Search Committee was to conduct a national search to identify and interview the most qualified candidates and recommend finalists to the Board of Trustees, whose members made the final decision on electing the president.

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How was the Search Committee appointed?

The chair of the Board of Trustees and the Chair of the Search Committee appointed the Presidential Search Committee. The goal was to create a diverse committee drawing on the significant talent and expertise of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Board members. Recommendations of names of individuals for the Board chair’s and Search Chair’s consideration were solicited and submitted by the faculty, staff, and student government groups on campus with the objective of creating a committee that was both representative of the entire University community and manageable in size. It was also critical to identify individuals willing to make a considerable time commitment and adhere to a strict code of confidentiality. See the full list of the Search Committee here.

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Which search firm was retained and what was the firm’s role?

RIT retained the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, which was led by President Vivian Brocard and Principal Kate Barry, who work in the firm’s Boston office. Isaacson Miller was selected by the search committee after a vetting process that included the review of six search firms. This firm was chosen for their extensive experience in presidential searches with some of the country’s leading universities. These search consultants also assisted with the search that resulted in President Destler’s appointment in 2007.

The role of the search firm was to assist the Presidential Search Committee by helping to guide the Committee in determining its structure and processes; by advising the Committee in connection with creation of the presidential job description; and by engaging in outreach to attract a large and diverse pool of qualified candidates to be considered by the Committee.

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Why did we conduct a confidential search?

After careful consideration and research, the Search Committee unanimously concluded that a confidential search would ensure the deepest and most diverse candidate pool for the search committee’s consideration. This was the recommendation of all six executive search firms RIT consulted.

In an increasingly competitive higher education landscape, the role of president requires an individual who has acquired significant leadership experience in a complex and nationally consequential organization. Ideally, that person would be gainfully employed, successful and highly respected within their current institution, and a visible leader within their community. In non-confidential search processes, the possibility of public vetting with multiple finalists often dissuades the most experienced candidates from engaging in the search. A candidate’s standing in their current organization - with faculty, board members, donors, and others - can be significantly damaged if they are ultimately unsuccessful in what ends up being a public competition. Therefore, confidential searches are now the standard for most high profile private and public universities. The Search Committee and the Board of Trustees believed that it was in the best interest of both the institution and the candidates to follow this standard and maintain a confidential search throughout the entire search process.

Beyond the search committee, there was a small group of administrators, faculty and board members who also met with the finalists. These individuals signed a confidentiality agreement, as did the search committee members, and were brought on in the final stages to help the finalists learn more about RIT and to broaden the perspectives already represented by the search committee. This group provided input to the search committee on the finalist candidates to help in their deliberation on their final recommendation to the Board.

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When will the new president be appointed?

The official start date is July 1, 2017.