The board plays a crucial role in hiring the CEO and ensuring the success and longevity of the college. Turnover in CEO leadership at community colleges is high, with many college presidents anticipating stepping down within the next five years. However, there is a shortage of qualified candidates and a lack of succession plans in place. This presents an opportunity to increase diversity in leadership positions.
When it comes to hiring, the board’s responsibilities include designing and overseeing the search process, involving appropriate stakeholders, allocating sufficient resources, and maintaining transparency.
A thoughtful and inclusive search process will lead to the selection of a candidate who can be fully supported by the board. At the outset, the board must develop a CEO profile aligned with the college’s goals, convene a search committee representing various stakeholders, and provide training for the committee. With involvement from the search committee, the board establishes requirements for the application, recruits and screens candidates, and checks references.
Throughout the search process, the board should maintain transparency, assess candidates’ strengths and expertise in relation to institutional needs and goals, avoid political influence, and ensure adequate data and input to make a well-informed decision. Upon identification of a preferred candidate, the board should take swift action to draft a contact and initiate negotiations.
The board should also consider using a search consultant such as ACCT Searches [LINK] and allocate adequate time and resources for the search.
More in-depth resources, including information about negotiating the CEO contract, professional development, onboarding the CEO, delegation and accountability, evaluating the CEO, and transitioning between college CEOs, is available to members in our governance resource library at ACCT Connect.