Stevenson University has selected a new president after months of deliberation.
According to a press release from Stevenson University, “Elliot Hirshman, Ph.D., will be the University’s sixth president, effective July 1, 2017. He succeeds Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., Stevenson’s fourth president, who served from 2000-2016, and Claire E. Moore who has served as Stevenson’s Interim President since December 2016.
Hirshman joins the University after serving as president of San Diego State University (SDSU) since 2011. Under President Hirshman’s leadership, SDSU implemented an integrated budget and financial strategy; raised more than $755 million in private philanthropy for scholarships and new initiatives and programs; and established and endowed its Honors College. SDSU is recognized nationally for increasing student retention and graduation rates – rates that are equal across ethnic and racial groups. Hirshman is currently a member of the NCAA Board of Directors and former chairman of the Mountain West Conference Board.”
“I am honored to join Stevenson University’s dynamic community,” said Hirshman in the press release. “Stevenson’s unique integration of career preparation and the traditional liberal arts reflects the best traditions of American higher education while envisioning a future that serves our students and our communities. The University’s core values of community, learning, integrity, and excellence were evident in every aspect of the recruitment process. I am excited to work collaboratively with our diverse community to support these values.”
The search process, which started with over 200 applications, was put into the hands of national search firm Isaacson, Miller. The search ended with only four applicants left, according to interim president Claire Moore and confirmed by search committee member Sarah Verville, associate professor of art and visual communication design.
The applicants went through a detailed vetting process and met the multiple requirements and qualifications. The Stevenson University Presidential Search Position Profile lists qualifications including respect toward what Stevenson stands for and represents; a background in higher education with teaching experience; upper administrative experience and leadership; a commitment to diversity and helping students; and an open communicator.
“[We plan for the new president] to be here for a decent amount of time and truly make their mark. [They should] have some impact with their work,” said Verville, who is also the chair of the Faculty Council and a member of the search committee. The committee included members of the Board of Trustees, a representative from the Alumni Association, the president of the Student Government Association and the president and vice president of the Faculty Council.
Verville’s position as president of the Faculty Council is to represent the faculty of Stevenson University in the presidential search; in doing so, she looked for specific qualities that other professors would appreciate.
The new president will have a variety of responsibilities, including help Stevenson grow; strengthen the academic programs; plan for long-term financial stability; expand the university as an institution; and build relationships and Stevenson’s reputation among the community, according to the Presidential Search Position Profile.
“The most important thing to us was to find someone who understands our culture and who respects our values and that would live our values. Somebody who really understands our students,” said Moore.
The search for the new president started with the Isaacson, Miller search firm, who narrowed down applications to about 30. The search committee and the Board of Trustees received the remaining applications to conduct interviews and narrow down the pool even further. Once the Board and search committee decided on the final four candidates, another group called the Search Advisory Group was invited to meet the candidates.
With the opinions from the Search Advisory Group and the search committee, the Board of Trustees made a final decision about the position.
(Villager staff members contributed to this article)