End of Summer Update From Michael Chu and Valerie Smith

To the Bates community,

As summer draws to an end, we trust that you find yourselves rested and energized at the start of a new academic year.

We write now to update you about the status of the Bates College Presidential search. As we mentioned previously, in late spring, members of the search committee met with various Bates constituencies to solicit their opinions regarding the future direction of the college and the attributes the next president ought to possess. While the rhetoric may have varied from one discussion to the next, several key themes emerged from these conversations with faculty, alumni, staff, students and trustees:

  • All constituencies care deeply about the college and are committed to its future success.
  • The college is at a pivotal point in its history and will require inspired leadership to move us to the next stage in our evolution.
  • We seek a president who possesses the following qualities: understands global and higher education issues and is able to convey the value of a liberal arts education to a wide variety of audiences; embraces the Bates values of humility, respect for human dignity, diversity and inclusion; is able to think strategically; possesses strong communication and listening skills and a transparent leadership style; and perhaps most importantly, inspires individual donors, foundations and corporations to financially support the college.

Since our last update, search committee members have devoted their energies to identifying and cultivating a strong pool of candidates. In late spring we wrote the prospectus — available on the Bates website — that Shelly Weiss Storbeck and her team from our search consultants Storbeck Pimentel and Associates have used in their outreach to nominees, applicants and prospects. The position has been advertised in all relevant print and online publications, and we have solicited nominations from a wide range of leaders in higher education and related fields across the country and internationally. During the summer we have been meeting periodically to discuss candidate materials and are planning to conduct in-person interviews and check references as we head into the fall.

Shelly and her colleagues have been hard at work helping us to assemble a group of candidates who possess the experience and attributes we seek in the next president. In light of our obvious concerns for confidentiality, we cannot disclose detailed information about the candidate pool or specific prospects. But we can say that we have been impressed by the size, diversity and quality of the pool. Candidates hail from different kinds of academic institutions and from outside the academy; they represent an array of disciplinary backgrounds; and they are at different stages in their careers. We have been delighted to learn that Bates’ reputation continues to grow and that so many individuals are interested in the opportunity to serve as our next president.

Thanks to all of you who have communicated with us so far to ask questions, nominate candidates, and share your thoughts. Feel free to reach out to us with any concerns you may have.

Best wishes,

Michael and Val
Michael Chu and Valerie A. Smith, Co-chairs
Presidential Search Committee