Longwood President: Incredible Quality And Quantity Of Applicants

Published 5:33 pm Thursday, January 24, 2013

FARMVILLE – When it comes to applicants, Longwood University's presidential search committee has a full house.

Aces over kings and queens.

Yes, that full.

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“We have received over 65 candidates and that has been just remarkable, and we have everything from sitting presidents to provosts to vice-presidents, we've got some deans and some very non-traditional candidates,” Jane Maddux, who chairs the committee, told The Herald. “So there is no question the quality has been incredible. We have been so very pleased. And also we've been extremely delighted with the diversity of the pool of candidates.”

The search process will conclude with a spring announcement of the university's next president, selected by the Board of Visitors, and Maddux is confident that individual will be just what Longwood needs.

The group of applicants stands out for its overall excellence and for its diversity, according to Maddux.

Sixty-five candidates, she continued, is “remarkable. That's a pretty high number. It's certainly not over the top but it's still a pretty significant number.”

Told the quantity and quality of the applicant pool speaks well of the university, Maddux replied, “I couldn't agree with you more.”

And the search committee will give the Board of Visitors the names of two to four applicants who are the very best.

“We have one of the most wonderful committees. A lot of diversity on our committee and stakeholders across the college and I am extremely confident that we're going to find that right person,” Maddux said during a telephone interview. “I'm not leaving this job until it happens.”

Maddux doesn't believe there is any single most important quality the future LU president should bring to the office.

“I don't think you can possibly pin that down to one thing. There's so many needs in a person who represents a college or university such as Longwood,” she said. “And that's why we're looking at each one individually, so completely, and we'll find the right person to fit in with this university and its specific needs.”

Each of the applicants will bring a deep and stellar resume of accomplishments but leadership, at its best, requires a variety of skills and Maddux believes the track records will speak directly and honestly for the capabilities of the candidates.

But there will be many searching questions asked of each.

“So many of these people have held so many wonderful positions and we are obviously scrutinizing everything they've done. We intend to question them at great length,” she said, “and then question them again and probably again until we can narrow it down to-our hope is to bring two to four candidates to the board, two or a maximum of four to the board of visitors to make the final decision.”

In the next few weeks the search committee will be doing the first round of interviews, trying to narrow applicant field to eight to 10.

“We're almost there,” Maddux noted.

Another round of interviews with a smaller number of candidates will follow.

“And then we're going to be recommending no fewer than those two and no more than four finalists to the Board of Visitors. And then the Board of Visitors will conduct their interviews and we will be doing complete, exhaustive due diligence on the finalists before making a selection and announcement.”

The search committee cannot be explicit in offering details regarding the final stages of the search because “that will be determined by the needs of the finalists. When you've got sitting presidents in your candidate pool you have to be so discreet. Otherwise we could lose candidates.”

But when flowers bloom so will the name of Longwood University's next president.

“Yes, we fully expect that the search is going to conclude before the end of our spring semester, or somewhere soon after spring break,” Maddux said.

“I have great respect for this school…I have a great love for it and I will do everything I possibly can,” she vowed, “to make certain that we have a good fit for Longwood and the community.”