Presidential Search

Statement from Trustee Chair, Patrick Wilson

Dear Campus Community,

At its special meeting earlier today, the Council of Trustees voted unanimously to advance presidential candidates Bashar W. Hanna, Ph.D. and Daniel A. Wubah, Ph.D. to the Chancellor and the Pennsylvania State System Board of Governors. On behalf of the Council of Trustees, I would like to thank Presidential Search Committee Chair and Trustee Vice Chair Mary Jane Bowes and the Presidential Search Committee members for their sustained energy, high level of engagement, and extraordinary level of due diligence conducted throughout this process.

The presidential search process was guided by Board of Governors Policy 1983-13-A: Process for Recommending Presidential Appointment and was open and inclusive throughout. The Presidential Search Committee, formed and approved in accordance with policy, included elected and appointed representation from our faculty, student body, staff, alumni, university foundation, and the Council of Trustees. The charge issued to the Presidential Search Committee in November 2016 asked them to “search broadly and identify candidates who most closely align with the requirements outlined in the finalized leadership profile/positions description.” Working in partnership with the PA State System approved executive search firm, Witt/Kieffer, the search committee conducted a series of presidential needs assessment forums to seek input from faculty, coaches, staff, students, and community leaders to develop the leadership profile/position description for our next president.

Guided by the leadership profile/position description and the university mission, vision, and values statements, active candidate recruiting was led by our executive search firm and took place in January – February 2017. This effort resulted in applications from more than 55 highly qualified candidates. The search committee completed its preliminary review of these candidates and, at the end of March 2017, conducted initial interviews with 10 candidates who most closely matched the qualities outlined in the leadership profile/position description. At the conclusion of the first round of interviews, the following four candidates were selected by the search committee to advance to the next phase of the process, campus visits:

  • Bashar W. Hanna, Ph.D.
  • Philip K. Way, Ph.D
  • Daniel A. Wubah, Ph.D.
  • Kimberly Johnston, Ed.D

Campus visits were conducted between April 2 – 14, 2017. The campus visit itineraries were inclusive and provided an excellent opportunity for both the candidates and the campus and local communities to interact and engage. Extensive feedback was compiled, unedited, and provided to the search committee at the conclusion of the campus visits.

The search committee and executive search firm also completed comprehensive background and reference checks. All candidates were fully vetted by the search firm and the search committee through a series of reference checks conducted on references provided by the candidates and those that were independently obtained. A cross-selection of past and present faculty colleagues, peers, direct reports, and supervisors were contacted by the search firm and committee. In addition, faculty and staff members of the committee reached out to their peers at the candidates’ current and previous institutions to seek information on key accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses, leadership temperament and style, respect and inclusivity, reputation for integrity, interpersonal relationships and communication style, as well as any other feedback that the references wished to disclose.

The search committee and the search firm concluded their work on April 24, 2017 with a review of the following:

  • All campus/local community feedback received;
  • The aforementioned reference checks;
  • Comprehensive media and public record review;
  • Verification of employment history, education, certification, and other professional degrees and credentials;
  • Review of the competency/leadership assessments administered by Witt/Kieffer to the four candidates completing a campus visit.

After reviewing the above information and engaging in thorough and detailed discussion and critique, the search committee whole-heartedly approved advancing Dr. Bashar W. Hanna and Dr. Daniel A. Wubah in the process. These candidates and their dossiers were presented by the Presidential Search Committee to the Council of Trustees at its meeting this morning. Based on its interactions with the candidates, a deep understanding of the university mission, vision, and values statements, and the desired qualities of our next president as outlined in the leadership profile/position description, Council accepted the search committee’s recommendation and unanimously approved advancing Dr. Bashar W. Hanna and Dr. Daniel A. Wubah to the Chancellor and the PA State System Board of Governors. The two candidates who did not advance, Dr. Kimberly Johnston and Dr. Philip K. Way were highly qualified and well received, and should be commended for their professional accomplishments and thanked for their interest in Bloomsburg.

To echo the words of Search Chair Mary Jane Bowes, Dr. Hanna and Dr. Wubah are experienced academic leaders who possess the vision and leadership qualities to build upon the institution’s reputation and continue the university’s forward momentum in preparing students for personal and professional success in an increasingly complex global environment. Both individuals have a passion for the mission of public education and possess the qualities necessary to effectively advocate for the university, articulate the institution’s values, and fundraise with the university’s many and broadly based constituents. The Council of Trustees also believes that these two candidates would continue our tradition of excellence, enhance our co-curricular programs and activities, advance the institution’s enrollment/retention goals, leverage our academic strengths in an effort to deliver a high quality student-centered experience, and add to a communication infrastructure that informs and engages the campus community.

On behalf of the entire Council of Trustees, thank you, our valued faculty, coaches, staff, students, and alumni, for your active participation, engagement, questions, and concerns raised during this most important process. This is an exciting time in the life of Bloomsburg University as we celebrate the significant accomplishments of Dr. David L. Soltz and look forward, with great enthusiasm and optimism, to the next chapter of this fine institution.

    Patrick Wilson
    Bloomsburg University Council of Trustees