The UMW presidential search was launched in May 2015 with the appointment of the nineteen-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee (PSAC). This committee was constituted to ensure broad representation from throughout the UMW community. It was chaired by the Rector and included five additional members of the Board of Visitors. It also included UMW faculty and staff, as well as student, alumni, and UMW Foundation representatives. Ron Forehand, Senior Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Education Section, served as legal counsel for the search.
PSAC received proposals from a number of executive search firms, held two rounds of interviews with representatives of those firms, and selected Baker and Associates LLC to assist with the UMW search. Martin Baker, Senior Vice President, served as the principal on the search.
In July, PSAC members received training from the Attorney General’s Office on confidentiality and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In addition, PSAC discussed the various search models and determined that a hybrid model—an essentially closed search but with additional stakeholders invited into the process at the appropriate stage—would be most advantageous for UMW in order to ensure the strongest possible pool of candidates, while fostering trust and support from the University community. All participants in the search were required to sign confidentiality agreements.
Mr. Baker met with the Board of Visitors at its annual planning retreat in early August to receive input from the Board for the search process. Next, from August 25-27, Mr. Baker spent three days on-site at UMW holding multiple open forums and meeting with various groups to gather information and suggestions regarding the attributes and experiences needed in UMW’s next president. In addition, PSAC made available an online stakeholder input form to allow individuals to contribute suggestions to the search process.
Utilizing all of the input received from the Board of Visitors, the on-campus forums, and the online stakeholder input forms, Mr. Baker and PSAC drafted a Presidential Leadership Statement to be used to recruit candidates for the position. The Statement was approved by the Board of Visitors at its September 2016 regular meeting.
Between mid-September and mid-November, Baker and Associates worked to recruit candidates. After initial screening and evaluation of the applications, Baker and Associates presented to PSAC a broad and diverse group of candidates who met the qualifications outlined in the Presidential Leadership Statement. This group included sitting presidents, provosts, and other administrative and academic leaders within higher education. It also included a number of individuals from outside the academy, including accomplished leaders in business and governmental service.
The members of PSAC carefully reviewed and evaluated all of the materials submitted by the qualified applicants. The committee met on November 17 to select candidates for first-round interviews. Those initial interviews were held with candidates in early December in an undisclosed location in order to maintain confidentiality. Following the interviews, the committee chose a smaller group of semifinalists to be invited for second-round interviews.
The Board of Visitors and PSAC had determined early in the search process that a hybrid search model would be utilized. Accordingly, a group of twenty-one additional stakeholders were invited to meet and interview the semifinalists in January 2016. The Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) comprised faculty, staff, students, alumni, UMW Foundation, and community representatives. It also included members of the President’s Cabinet and college deans. The SAG provided an added dimension to the search by offering a broader perspective and additional viewpoints to the process. Members of SAG received training from the Attorney General’s Office on confidentiality and FOIA, and were required to sign confidentiality agreements.
Following the second-round interviews by PSAC and the Stakeholder Advisory Group, a small group of finalists was chosen by PSAC to advance to the Board of Visitors for consideration. Extensive referencing was conducted by Baker and Associates and background checks were performed. In addition, members of PSAC carefully reviewed the scholarship and publication records of each finalist.
A joint meeting of the Board of Visitors and PSAC was held in late January 2016 for the purpose of presenting the finalists to the Board and engaging in extensive discussion of each finalist. The Board of Visitors, by statute, is charged with appointing the president; therefore, the work of PSAC was concluded with the presentation of finalists to the Board.
In early February 2016, the Board of Visitors met and interviewed each of the finalists. Following these meetings, and utilizing all of the information gathered throughout the process, the Board of Visitors identified the preferred candidate. The Rector, with the assistance of legal counsel, extended an offer and proceeded to formulate a draft contract, consistent with the Board’s objectives. Following successful agreement and signing of the draft contract, it was announced on February 15, 2016 that Dr. Troy Paino had been identified as UMW’s 10th President.
The Board of Visitors met on February 18, 2016 to formally ratify the contract and appoint Dr. Paino to a five-year term as President, effective July 1, 2016. A University “Welcome and Celebration” event was held in the University Center on Friday, February 19, 2016, at which time Troy and Kelly Paino were publicly introduced to the UMW community.