Search committee outlines priorities for next president

The university’s next president must be an imaginative and inspirational leader who embraces Brandeis’ historic strengths and aspires to propel the university into the ranks of the nation’s most elite institutions, the committee leading the search said.

This portrait of the ideal candidate is contained in a case statement released by the Presidential Search Committee today. The document also outlines the broad challenges confronting the university’s next leader.

Search committee chair and Brandeis trustee Stephen Kay said the document is a useful resource for identifying a successor to President Jehuda Reinharz, who is stepping down after more than 15 years at the helm.

"We feel it accurately represents the aspirations of the Brandeis community and the challenges and opportunities the eighth president of the university will find upon arrival,” Kay said in a message. “It will guide the committee and our candidates in the next phase of our search, which begins now."

According to the case statement, the ideal candidate is one who understands Brandeis’ unique character as a small liberal arts college within a national research university; embraces Brandeis’ Jewish heritage and core values; is an accomplished fundraiser; can articulate a vision for the future and inspire others to follow; is committed to diversity; values and fosters collegiality; and has outstanding managerial skills.

The broad priorities for the next president, according to the document, include establishing Brandeis as one of the nation’s elite universities; stabilizing university finances; articulating a vision for Brandeis to internal and external constituencies; and creating a cohesive campus community.

Biology professor Gina Turrigiano, a member of the search committee, said the panel benefited greatly from the insights and analysis by a wide spectrum of the Brandeis community.

"The encapsulation of our priorities for the next president and our wish list of presidential attributes grew directly out of the many meetings the search committee held with students, faculty, staff, trustees and alumni over the course of the past few months," Turrigiano said. "Given the many diverse points of view within the Brandeis community, there was a remarkable degree of consensus and we believe this document gives voice to the shared hopes and aspirations of the Brandeis community for our next president and our next few decades."

Turrigiano acknowledged the Faculty Advisory Committee and the Student Advisory Committee for their contributions to the document.

Kay thanked members of the search committee for their efforts in drafting the case statement, which is being distributed to prospective candidates by Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, the university's presidential search advisers. The firm also has produced and placed an advertisement, which is running in both the print and online editions of The Chronicle of Higher Education, and on, to help attract a wide pool of candidates.

Reinharz, 65, who has served as president since 1994, announced Sept. 25 his intention to step down to pursue other interests. At the request of the Board of Trustees, he agreed to continue to lead the university through the 2010-11 academic year or until a successor is named, whichever occurs earlier.

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