Updates on the search for RIC’s next president
Rhode Island’s Commissioner of Postsecondary Education, Dr. Shannon Gilkey, provided an update and timeline on the search for RIC’s next president. This timeline was sent via a campus wide email earlier this month along with a detailed description of how the process will go.
The first step in this process is for the Postsecondary Council to “hire a professional executive search firm.”
“As a government entity, we will employ the state’s Request for Proposals process,” Gilkey added.
Then during the months of March and April will be the appointment of a presidential search committee and advisory committee. The presidential search committee will “conduct some of the work of the presidential search on behalf of the council,” which could include reviewing the candidates, interviewing them and recommending finalists.
As for the Advisory Committee, it will include “a broader group of constituents and stakeholders in the Rhode Island College community, including faculty, students, union reps, alumni, etc.” Members of that committee are going to give their own perspectives on what challenges RIC is facing and the type of leadership they believe the college needs.
A few months afterward, during the Summer, will be when the formal search begins. Gilkey described this as “a common practice in the industry,” adding, “This allows for adequate time for the deep involvement of the stakeholder groups in the process and for hiring cycles to occur with the start of an academic semester.” This part of the process will see the search firm’s search profile brought to the Postsecondary Council in June for council approval. Upon approval, the search will start in July.
Then during August and September, the search committee will review and send their candidates to the search firm. The firm will then conduct background checks for those candidates and offer interviews afterward. Following those interviews, the council will be given a list of finalists to vote on in October.
Forums and meetings are going to be held for the RIC community to engage with the finalists. After that step in the process, a finalist is going to be announced in January 2024. As a result of this timeline taking until next year, the council extended RIC President, Dr. Jack Warner’s contract until June 30, 2024.
This new timeline, now adds another year onto how long the search process has gone on for. The process initially started in January 2022, shortly before then-RIC President, Frank Sánchez, announced he would not seek a third term. As a result, a search committee was created in March 2022 to find a new president.
A spokesperson for the RIOPC told The Anchor that the committee never met, explaining, “the leadership of the Board of Education and the Council on Postsecondary Education changed, necessitating a pause in the process.”
The council’s new Chairperson, former State Representative David Caprio, will decide the new search committee’s composition.