New presidential term to start next fall

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The presidential desk remains empty on the third floor of Cardinal Farrell Hall. Photo by Gabi McCausland.

With the presidential search in full swing, the University of Dallas’ next president should be in place by the beginning of the 2019 fall semester, according to search committee chair Richard Husseini.

The presidential search committee will announce UD’s next president early this spring semester, Husseini said.

The committee met for the first time last week and hopes to draft a leadership profile in the next month. The profile will describe UD and identify issues the next president should address, as well as characteristics the president should possess.

The committee is currently seeking input from the UD community through town hall meetings and a presidential search website.

Although the deadline to post input for the leadership profile was yesterday, the committee will continue to take input into consideration as it evaluates the candidates, Husseini said.

The committee will seek candidate applications and start the selection process after it finalizes the leadership profile.

While the committee’s role is to select candidates, the Board of Trustees will make the ultimate decision of who to appoint as president, Husseini said.

At this point, the committee still hasn’t decided whether finalist candidates will give public talks or remain anonymous.

At the student town hall last week Dennis Barden, head of the search team from Witt/Kieffer, said that there is “no guarantee” the finalists will show themselves publicly because high-profile candidates who are currently employed may jeopardize their positions by going public.

According to Barden, the committee’s decision to allow candidates to remain anonymous comes down to the importance of maintaining both the credibility of the presidential search and the quality of the candidates themselves.

If the candidates remain anonymous, more representatives from the UD community will be chosen to vet the finalists, Barden added.

The search firm’s role is to find candidates for the committee. And in choosing Witt/Kieffer, UD looked for a firm that would “really understand us” as a small, Catholic, liberal arts university, Husseini said.

In particular, Barden appreciates UD’s Catholic character, Core curriculum, and integrated undergraduate and professional programs, Husseini added.

The search committee is committed to finding a president who shares UD’s mission.

“I continue to believe passionately that the mission of the school is so correct and so important,” Husseini said.

Student Government president Clare Slattery is also a member of the search committee.

“Everyone in this process has been willing to consider all the voices who are willing to speak up on this issue,” Slattery said. “We’ll take whatever [input] students have to say, even if it’s small comments.”

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