Summary of the Search Process
There is no more important decision in the life of an institution than the selection of a new leader.
Members of key constituency groups for Empire State College should have an understanding of the process that is being utilized to ensure that the college has a diverse, robust and highly qualified candidate pool from which to select its president. What follows is a summary of the search process used by the search consultants RPA Inc.
Phase I — Pre-Recruitment Research
Empire State College has a history and culture all its own. Understanding that distinctiveness, the strengths and challenges that the college experiences, and the conditions and environment in which it exists, is key to finding the individual uniquely qualified to be the next president. RPA Inc. will conduct research to gain that understanding.
Phase II — Assembling the Candidate Pool
For approximately six weeks, RPA Inc. will concentrate on developing the candidate pool. This highly confidential process includes contacting thousands of individuals by telephone, letter and email to seek nominations of higher-education professionals, nonprofit executives, business professionals and government leaders. RPA Inc. team members will select from a database, which includes individuals in virtually every college and university in the nation, those potential candidates whose experience, competence, style and character indicate they would be a good fit for Empire State College. RPA's recruitment specialists will discuss the opportunity with likely prospects and elicit their candidacies. A key activity during this phase of the search is the receipt of nominations for the position. Those who know of an individual they would like to nominate should download and fill out the nomination form located at the bottom of this page.
Phase III — Candidate Evaluation
About 10 weeks into the search process, the search committee will begin to evaluate the candidate pool and move the most highly qualified candidates forward in the search process. Using uniform, objective evaluation instruments, the committee will rank candidates through a multi-tiered process that will reduce the number of candidates in stages.
The stages of evaluation include:
Prequalifying – RPA Inc. consultants conduct structured telephone interviews to ensure that applicants have the appropriate qualifications and background to be considered serious candidates for the presidency of Empire State College.
Semifinalist Review – Undertaken by the search committee and facilitated by RPA Inc., this review is based on the candidates’ curricula vitae and the outcome of the thorough prequalifying interview. At this point, the search committee will reduce the candidate pool to a qualified group of semifinalists.
Reference Checks – RPA. Inc. and the search committee conduct thorough reference checks, speaking with individuals who have worked for and with the candidates and those who have supervised them in the past.
Neutral Site Interviews – The search committee will interview a small group of outstanding candidates to assess their competencies, presence, fit and interest in the college.
Campus Visits – At this stage, three to five candidates and perhaps their spouses are invited to visit the campus and meet with college constituencies. The search committee will compile data on the reaction of college constituencies to each individual and recommend the candidates that they find acceptable.
Phase IV — Recruiting the President-Elect
While part of the search process is identifying the candidate the college needs and wants, an equally important part is making sure the top candidate wants to become a part of the history of Empire State College. RPA Inc. facilitates the establishment and nurturance of a relationship between the institution and its leading candidates.
To ensure that due diligence is met, in-depth, independent confirmation of the academic and employment credentials of the finalist candidates as well as additional reference checks are carried out. The names of the finalists identified will be vetted by the College Council, which will send three names to Chancellor Nancy Zimpher for consideration. The chancellor then will send her recommendations to the SUNY Board of Trustees for consideration. If the chancellor's recommendation is accepted, the SUNY board will name the new president of the college in an official board action.
After appropriate negotiations, the Office of the Chancellor will announce the new president-elect to the Empire State College community.