Search firm UO used for Law & Music deans & VPR and is using for Grad School is banned by North Carolina, refunded entire $110K fee

InsideHigherEd has the news from North Carolina here:

The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors named Cecil Staton the next chancellor of East Carolina University in April 2017. Nine months later, the executive search firm hired to recruit Staton refunded $110,000 in professional fees from the search.

University system leaders blocked the search firm, Witt/Kieffer, from any of their future business. At issue was “inaccurate salary information for Staton’s previous posts in Georgia,” according to a report in Business North Carolina citing three people familiar with the situation.

The incident offers insight into the incentives and pressures swirling within the often-expensive world of recruiting executive-level leaders in higher education. Firms are frequently paid based on the starting earnings of the candidates they find, and they can be asked to become involved in negotiations between candidate and college. As a result, search firms can quickly find themselves navigating ethically murky waters between the universities that pay their bills, the candidates they recruit and their own self-interest. …

UO has Witt/Kieffer on contract through 2019, and is currently using them for the Grad School Dean searche, and used them in the recent hiring of Law School Dean Marcilyn Burke, SOMD Dean Sabrina Madison-Cannon, and VPR David Conover.

Presumably UO GC Kevin Reed is doing his due diligence on this.

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5 Responses to Search firm UO used for Law & Music deans & VPR and is using for Grad School is banned by North Carolina, refunded entire $110K fee

  1. Amy Adams says:

    The SOMD dean search concluded a couple of months ago with the hiring of Sabrina Madison-Cannon.

    Are they using Witt/Kieffer for any other music faculty searches?

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    • uomatters says:

      Whoops, thanks. I’ll edit to reflect that. No other searches that I know about.

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  2. Isaiah says:

    Looks like a pretty significant no-confidence vote in NC for the search firm of Witt/Kieffer. However, a big part of the problem may be Chancellor Cecil Staton himself: all the empire-building bluster of a Cecil Rhodes, while failing to produce even marginal results in the key metric of Pirates football. Oh Carolina!

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  3. Conflict of interest says:

    Ha! This is the same crack team that used all their acumen to find Kimberly Andrews Espy as one of the top four candidates for provost at Ball State. How hard could it really be to figure out this would be a monumental blunder?

    Seems obvious that this expensive form of consulting is based on entirely superficial methods. But ironically, it is the same mediocre class of admins that decides on who they will offer wheelbarrows of money to find “top candidates”.

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    • Isaiah says:

      To be fair, Kimberly Espy once lead Innovation for an AAU institution with 2,000+ faculty and 20,000+ students. Please take a moment and consider how much Innovation that encompasses. Also consider the protean nature of Innovation: On the one hand, Innovation is a kind of precious ore that must be painstakingly mined from deep within the unyielding bedrock of the university. On the other hand, Innovation is a type of congested air traffic that needs to be carefully monitored and controlled lest horrific accidents ensue.

      These and many other things are Innovation. At UO, KAE vice-presidented for all of that. And this experience is why she is a viable candidate for Ball State and others today.

      Also, her recognized accomplishments in organizational team-building and servant leadership.

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