The visual timeline below provides an overview of the 2019 presidential search process. The retrospective review of the last search will help the Board set the course for the next presidential search. It will provide important feedback on what went well in the last search, what did not go according to plan, and what could or should be done differently in the future. Provide input on the last search process.


Search Firm Selected


The Board Chair convened a Search Firm Selection Committee to solicit proposals from firms experienced in conducting university president searches. After reviewing proposals, interviewing firms, and conducting reference checks, the committee provided a recommendation to the Board Chair based on the firms’ prior experience, commitment to diversity, alignment with OSU’s timeline and process, and ability to identify and screen best candidates, and Witt/Kieffer was selected as the search firm.




With President Emeritus Ed Ray’s announcement of his plans to step down as president and return to faculty, the OSU Board immediately launched a 2019 Presidential Search and Selection webpage to provide regular updates to the OSU community and partners, promote opportunities for engagement in the search process, gather input and feedback, and solicit nominations for the position of president. In addition to the webpage, university-wide updates, media notices, and public meeting notices were regularly sent to the community, stakeholders and members of the media.


Public Board Meeting to Discuss the Search Process & Timeline

The Board of Trustees held a public meeting to discuss the search process, its timeline and key elements of the search. The discussion included a proposed hybrid process for conducting a confidential search in which there would be an interview phase with candidates and a stakeholder group to provide feedback on the finalists while maintaining confidentiality of candidates.

April -

Search Committee Convened

Based on input from the Provost’s Office, Faculty Senate President, ASOSU and ASCC leaders, the staff trustee and others, the Board Chair appointed and convened a Presidential Search Committee. The 15-member committee was composed of OSU trustees, faculty, students, administrators, staff and alumni, as well as representatives from higher education outside of OSU and the broader community. The Presidential Search Committee included a search advocate.

April -

Listening Sessions to Develop Leadership Profile

The Board conducted a multi-pronged community engagement effort to gather input on the university’s strengths and the challenges that OSU will face over the next 10 years, as well as input regarding the recommended skills, qualities and attributes that OSU’s next president should possess. Eleven listening sessions were hosted across the state with university and community stakeholders to gather input. An online survey was launched and gathered feedback from April 15 to May 20, 2019.

A Presidential Leadership Profile was created based on community input and reviewed by the Presidential Search Committee. Following public comment process, the OSU Board finalized the presidential profile at a public board meeting at the end of May 2019.

Summer -

Networking and Recruitment of Prospective Candidates

The Board conducted national advertising and recruitment efforts. The Board launched a presidential nomination website. Members of the search committee, university leadership, faculty and others were encouraged to engage their individual networks to identify potential nominees for president. Over summer and early fall of 2019, more than 160 nominations were received.

September -

Selection of Semifinalists and Finalists

The Presidential Search Committee reviewed materials received from applicants and selected 12 semifinalists for first round interviews. Due diligence materials were gathered for each of the semifinalists and shared with committee members. First round interviews with semifinalists were conducted confidentially, in person, and at off-site locations. Following the interviews, the Presidential Search Committee prepared a report for the Board Chair identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the semifinalists. Using this feedback, the Board Chair selected four finalists to forward for second round interviews with the Stakeholder Group and trustees.

October -

Stakeholder Group Convened

Based on input from the Provost’s Office, Faculty Senate President, and ASOSU and ASCC leadership, the Board Chair appointed a 25-member Stakeholder Group, composed of OSU faculty, students, staff, and administrators as well as members of the broader community. Members of the Stakeholder Group engaged confidentially in the interview process with finalists and provided feedback to the Board on the strengths and attributes of the finalists with respect to the qualifications identified in the Board’s Presidential Leadership Profile.

November -

Ranking of Finalists and Final Selection

The four finalists met with the Stakeholder Group and with members of the Board. Reference checks were conducted on each finalist and a summary of each reference check was provided to the trustees. The Board met in executive session to rank the finalists and delegated to the Board Chair in public session the responsibility to negotiate with the finalists in ranked order and to consult with the Governor or her designee. Off list reference checks were performed on candidates in ranked order. Following the negotiation phase, in public session, the Board of Trustees considered the appointment of the president and the employment agreement.