NKU names presidential search committee members

Haley Parnell
Haley Parnell
Haley is a reporter for LINK nky. Email her at [email protected]

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The Northern Kentucky University Board of Regents approved the members who will serve on its presidential search committee Wednesday.

The board announced at their regularly scheduled meeting that there would be a search committee and an advisory board in their search for a permanent president. The search committee and select advisory board members will conduct interviews with candidates. However, the final decision of who is named president will ultimately come down to the Board of Regents.

NKU Board of Regents Secretary Kara Williams serves as chair of the Presidential Search Committee. Additionally, the committee and advisory board members include faculty, staff, students, regents, and community partners.

Williams said they are committed to finding suitable applicants, so they are not putting a timeline on their search.

“We’re very intentional about not putting a timeline out there because, as a group, we have said we will stick in any phase until we get those exceptional candidates,” Williams said. “We will not move forward just when we have ‘X’ number of applicants, and we will not move forward because ‘it’s July 15.’”

Williams said they are looking at things in phases, and right now, they are in the planning phase. The next phase will be engagement; then they will release a candidate profile and start actively recruiting people.

The search committee members are:

  • Marquita Barron, NKU director of Training and Development 
  • Janel Bloch, NKU professor, English
  • Hassan HassabElnaby, NKU dean of the Haile College of Business
  • Ashley Himes, NKU regent, Student Services coordinator at Regional School Programs
  • Candace McGraw, chief executive officer, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International  Airport 
  • Julia Pohl, Sports Business and Event Management major, NKU student
  • JT Roberts, owner of DDX Transport
  • Nathan Smith, NKU Board of Regents vice chair, chief investment officer at Flagship Communities LC
  • Elizabeth Thompson, NKU search vice chair and regent, member at Stites and Harbison LLC 
  • Tom Wiedemann, NKU Foundation president, president and CEO of AAA Club Alliance
  • Kara Williams, NKU search chair and Board of Regents secretary, owner of The Marketing Collective 
  • Brad Zapp, NKU regent, managing director of Connetic Ventures
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The advisory board members are:

  • Rensha Allen, NKU Black Alumni Council president, Allstate Agency 
  • Brandon Billiter, NKU director of Student Account Services
  • Mike Borchers, Local Superintendents Advisory Council, Superintendent Ludlow Independent Schools
  • David Childs, NKU associate professor, college of education 
  • Brent Cooper, president NKY Chamber of Commerce
  • Charlisa Daniels, NKU associate professor, chemistry and biochemistry
  • John Farrar, NKU Faculty Senate president, associate professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Jacqueline Emerine, NKU associate professor, communication
  • Fernando Figueroa, president of Gateway Community and Technical College 
  • Steve Slone, NKU Staff Congress president, manager of Mail and Copy Services 
  • Lauren Goodwin, NKU Chase College of Law, student
  • Staci Green, NKU director of IT Support Services, president of SAFE
  • Karen Mefford, NKU interim comptroller
  • Darryl Peal, NKU chief diversity officer
  • Steve Pendery, Campbell County judge/executive
  • Sandra Spataro, NKU professor of Management College of Business
  • Jennifer Sheffel, NKU Alumni Council president, president and CEO at Summit ActionCOACH

Those members will go through an orientation, Williams said, and then they will figure out what their meeting schedule will look like. No meetings have currently been scheduled.

“My assumption is the advisory board is really going to be focused on getting more engagement, getting more voices, bringing more people into the process,” Williams said. “I think they’re going to be pretty busy the next month.”

She said after that process, the search committee would become more involved.

The university has also hired the global executive search and leadership advisory firm WittKieffer to help conduct the national search of interested candidates.

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“These people will literally spend days on this job,” NKU Board of Regents Chair Rich Boehne said. “Hours and hours and days. It’s not an easy process.”

Five regents formed a working group in January, Williams said, to meet with people across campus and ask for recommendations and nominations to make sure their committee had diverse representation.

Williams said they would also utilize things like open forums, small group meetings, personal nominations, a campus-wide survey, and advice from WittKieffer in their search.

Those wishing to follow the process can do so on the presidential search website. Candidate recommendations can be emailed to [email protected]

NKU will host two open forums this month regarding the search. They will be 90-minute sessions available to anyone wishing to attend.  

The sessions will be held:

  • March 28: 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom A
  • March 29: noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom

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