The presidential search committee interviewed candidates in November for the next president of St. Thomas, and is expected to nominate an individual for consideration by the Board of Trustees in the new year.
The 13-member committee was working to recommend a candidate to the board in December, but has taken more time than initially planned to conduct interviews, said Dr. John Morrison, chair of the committee and a member of the Board of Trustees.
“The committee is satisfied with its progress and is very pleased with the quality of the candidates,” Morrison says in a letter on the presidential search website. “Everything is running smoothly, but scheduling around the holidays has been challenging, and the committee requires additional time to complete our interviews.”
The committee has not determined the number of candidates who will participate in the finalist interview process and has not determined a timetable for those interviews, Morrison said.
After selecting the finalists, the committee will decide if open forums will be held or if the finalists will not be identified publicly in order to protect the confidentiality of the process. If open forums are not held, selected members of the St. Thomas community will be invited to meet with the finalists and provide feedback to the committee.
“Some finalists may not be comfortable with being identified because it could raise questions about their commitment to their current employer,” said Sara Gross Methner, general counsel and chief human resources officer. She is serving as staff to the committee. “If we want to retain those candidates, we need to honor those concerns if they are raised.”
The Board of Trustees has sole responsibility to choose a successor to Father Dennis Dease, who will retire June 30 after 22 years as president. St. Thomas’ bylaws allow only a Roman Catholic – priest, religious or lay person – to serve as president.
Witt/Kieffer, an executive search firm, continues to work with the search committee. The firm helped to identify and recruit candidates and develop a leadership profile for the position.