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News >  Higher education

EWU hires consulting firm to lead presidential search

UPDATED: Mon., June 14, 2021

Eastern Washington University’s Board of Trustees moved Friday to select a firm to lead the university’s search for a new full-time president.

The board voted to hire Illinois-based firm WittKieffer. David May, the university’s former provost and vice president for student affairs, has served as interim president since former President Mary Cullinan resigned last August.

Deborah Danner, EWU’s associate vice president for human resources, told the board WittKieffer has conducted more than 100 presidential searches for higher education institutions in the past five years, boasting a 97% success rate in filling those presidential assignments.

WittKieffer was recently contracted by the University of Washington to find new chancellors for the university’s Tacoma and Bothell campuses, Danner said.

The fee for WittKieffer’s services is one-third of the first year’s total compensation for the president, a rate that “appears consistent with industry standards,” Danner said.

Board Chair Vicki Wilson and Trustee Robert Whaley were previously designated by the board to review the responses from consulting firms to the university’s request for proposals.

The university received 16 responses.

Whaley was impressed with the pool, saying it didn’t feel like a situation where “you just had to take the best of a bunch of poor applicants.”

“The differences between the level of performances … were not significantly different from any of them, but we concluded that this particular group seemed the most compatible with what we were trying to do,” he said. “Their familiarity with our state made us believe that it would be a good recommendation to the board.”

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