CWU News

CWU Starts Negotiations with Top Choice for University President

Central Washington University’s Board of Trustees unanimously agreed Friday to begin negotiations with its top candidate to be the next president of the university.

Board Chair Ron Erickson said the candidate, referred to as “Candidate A” in the meeting, would remain unnamed because the board had decided to conduct a confidential search for the position and wanted to honor the promise of confidentiality made to the candidates.

Trustee Erin Black, who co-chaired the 13-member Trustees Search Advisory Committee (TSAC), which previously recommended five finalists to the board, said conducting a confidential search allowed the board to attract a large number of “high quality” candidates.

She said 80 individuals applied for the position and the search committee narrowed the list to ten semifinalists, who were thoroughly researched and interviewed by the TSAC. From that group, the committee selected five finalists to advance to the full board.

Black said the five finalists were interviewed by the full board on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Additionally, two of the finalists were brought to campus for smaller group interviews while the others, unable to travel due to weather, were interviewed remotely.

“The board conducted extensive, 75-minute interviews with each of the candidates,” she said. “And that was followed by smaller group interviews with each, so that we could get to know them better.”

Trustee Gladys Gillis praised the members of the campus community who participated in the listening sessions at the start of the search process. She said the board appreciated their vision, thoughts, and recommendations, which proved invaluable to the board during the interview process.

The process of hiring a new president began last February, when the Board of Trustees hired Dallas-based R. William Funk and Associates to conduct a national search. The board appointed the search committee in March, and tasked them with reaching out to university stakeholders to learn what they perceive to be the greatest challenges for the university and to discuss the qualities desired in a new president.

The committee met with 430 stakeholders in a series of listening sessions from march through September. The process included focus groups with CWU employees and students as well as with community leaders, donors, and alumni. From those meetings, the committee issued three reports of its findings, which were presented to the Board of Trustees.

The deadline for applications was September 30. In October, the search committee reviewed and interviewed the top ten candidates before recommending five finalists to the Board of Trustees on November 2.

Current CWU President James L. Gaudino announced in February he would be stepping down on July 31, 2021.