FB Pixel Skip to Main Content

Presidential Search Archive

Presidential Search Communications

In an effort to provide a channel for open and transparent information regarding Western’s search for a new president, the Board of Trustees will post any communications regarding the search to this page. Please check in here for the latest details regarding updates to the search.

Communications

Western hires search firm to find new president

AGB Search to assist in identifying presidential candidates

Western Colorado University’s Presidential Search Committee, as authorized by the Board of Trustees, has hired a national higher education search firm, AGB Search, to assist in recruiting the university’s next president. The firm was chosen as most qualified from among six firms submitting bids to the search committee.

AGB Search, a Washington D.C. based company specializing in higher education executive searches, and affiliated with the Association of Governing Boards, has assisted in more than 750 executive searches at more than 400 public and private higher education institutions across the country.

AGB Search leverages its expertise and relationships in higher education to find highly qualified, diverse, and both traditional and non-traditional candidates for executive positions.

“Ultimately, insuring the highest possible performance of the search firm is the responsibility of the search committee,” said committee chair James Pribyl. “Holding the selected firm accountable throughout the process is our job, and one we intend to do vigorously.”

The search committee, in evaluating the various bids, concluded that AGB Search best met Western’s needs, interviewed well, and had excellent references, said Pribyl.

“AGB Search is committed to finding diverse candidates, including women and people of color, and will provide a full year of presidential transition support to the new president,” said Pribyl.

The AGB Search team working for Western are Associate Managing Principal Melissa Trotta, Principal Peggy Plympton, and Principal Monica Burton.

  • Trotta has 25 years of higher education experience at universities including Harvard, Georgetown and Johns Hopkins.
  • Plympton has 35 years of higher education leadership experience and has served as the Acting Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities for three years.
  • Burton is a member of AGB’s Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion working group, and has more than two decades of search experience. She has conducted searches for the University of Colorado, both Boulder and Colorado Springs campuses, the University of Denver and the Colorado Community College system.

The Presidential Search Committee will meet regularly on the second and fourth Thursday of each month, Pribyl said.
AGB Search will participate in these meetings, and will be on campus in October to meet with various stakeholders. The company estimates a six-month timeline on the search.

About Western Colorado University: Established in 1901 in Gunnison, Colo., Western is a four-year public institution which offers more than 100 areas of study to its about 3,000 students in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

Western Colorado University Presidential Search Committee hosted AGB Search, the higher education executive search firm retained to assist in recruiting the next president of Western, to two full days of meetings on campus last week. AGB consultants Monica Burton and Peggy Plympton were in Gunnison from late Tuesday, Oct. 12 through Friday morning, Oct. 15 and met with Interim President Nancy Chisholm, Search Committee Chair James Pribyl, Cabinet, faculty, staff, students, community members, alumni, and donors to seek stakeholder opinions about the desired leadership characteristics of Western’s next president.

AGB participated in 12 meetings with individual campus leaders and were introduced to the Gunnison Valley on a two-hour driving tour hosted by search committee member and Gunnison County Commissioner Chair Jonathan Houck.

The stakeholder meetings were attended by approximately 30 faculty, 25 staff, five students, four alumni/donors, and four community members. AGB will be hosting one more virtual session for community members at 6 p.m. on Oct. 21.

“To fulfill our commitment to the entire Western community to invite robust commentary about the characteristics and capabilities of our president, we asked and AGB responded by adding extra meeting time for faculty, staff, students and the community,” said James Pribyl, Search Committee Chair.

Community members are invited to join the meeting by clicking here. Previously, AGB Search team also met with the full search committee to seek their opinions.

Interested stakeholders can post their thoughts and ideas at Presidential Search Committee survey open through 5 p.m., Oct 20.

AGB will submit a draft Leadership Profile reflecting the desired qualifications of presidential applicants to the search committee within the next 10 days. The search committee expects to approve the profile at its regularly scheduled meeting at 8 a.m., Oct. 28. Once approved, AGB will advertise in various national publications and forums and will receive applications for approximately two months.

Beginning mid-January 2022, AGB and the search committee will begin evaluating applicants with the goal of identifying eight to 10 best qualified semi-finalists. Finalists will then be selected by the search committee for in-person campus visits and interviews with the full Board of Trustees in early March. The Board plans to make a final decision at its scheduled March 24 Board meeting in Gunnison.

Western’s search committee issues Leadership Profile

Seeks applications for the next two months

A dynamic advocate and proven, innovative leader, capable of unifying and inspiring Western Colorado University into its next era of success summarizes the Leadership Profile approved by the institution’s Presidential Search Committee at its meeting Thursday, Oct. 28.

“Our ideal candidate will demonstrate the highest integrity, possess strong communication and leadership skills, bring the capacity to build trust and unity on campus and off, inspire students, faculty and staff to achieve their greatest potential, and be the chief advocate for Western with the community, alumni, donors and State of Colorado elected leadership,” said James Pribyl, chair of the search committee.

The candidate profile was developed by the 11-member search committee, supported by AGB Search, a higher education executive search, following numerous stakeholder meetings with the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, and community members to learn what qualities were most important in a new university leader.

“The Western community is eager for a president who listens, leads and partners to turn challenges into opportunities, as well as appreciates the diverse ingredients that make Western and our valley special,” said Brooke Moran, Ph.D., a faculty member of the search committee. “Hundreds of students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members contributed to this process for which we are grateful”.

“We expect our next president to embrace shared governance, be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, to tackle the challenge of growing enrollment, and build on our new partnership with the University of Colorado to offer engineering and computer science degrees complementing our traditional liberal arts focus,” Pribyl said.

Western will begin advertising for the new president this week. The application period will close Jan. 10, 2022.

The Presidential Search Committee will continue to update information on its website as this process unfolds. For more information go to

https://western.edu/about/leadership/presidents-office/presidential-search/.

The Leadership Profile can be found at https://www.western.edu/leadership-profile.

About Western Colorado University: Established in 1901 in Gunnison, Colo., Western is a four-year public institution which offers more than 100 areas of study to its about 3,000 students in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

Update Regarding Presidential Search

Dear Western Community:

I’d like to provide a brief update on the Presidential Search process.

There has been no change to the search timeline which was distributed and posted to the website two weeks ago. We remain in the active application and recruitment phase of the search.

Next Thursday, Dec. 16, the search committee will meet to discuss confidentiality laws, review the proposed candidate assessment matrix from AGB Search and develop candidate questions for the first round of interviews. This is important preparation that must be completed before the Jan. 10, 2022, application deadline. Then on Jan. 20, the committee plans to narrow the field of candidates to eight semi-finalists.

We intend to conduct semi-finalist interviews the week of Feb. 14, and finalist interviews the week of March 7, 2022. These dates are subject to change should the need arise, but we remain on track for final selection of Western’s next president on March 24, at our regularly scheduled Trustee meeting.

You may find a copy of the search timeline, the Leadership Profile, and other updates on our Presidential Search page. Additionally, should you have any questions, you may submit them via email to presidentialsearch@western.edu.

Respectfully,

James Pribyl

Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Dear Western Colorado University community:

Today, after two months, the application period for the permanent president of Western Colorado University closes at 5 p.m. We are expecting a total of 50 to 60 candidates.

While the past 60 days have been a relatively quiet period for the search committee, we met in mid-December and will meet again this Thursday, Jan. 13, to construct an assessment matrix to evaluate candidates against the Personal Qualifications section of the Leadership Profile, which you can find at https://western.edu/about/leadership/presidents-office/presidential-search/leadership-profile/

At this Thursday’s meeting, we will also discuss and approve our semi-finalists interview questions. This week, search committee members will begin the task of diligently reviewing each of the applications to identify the six to eight most highly qualified candidates. During this process, to minimize bias, applicants will be identified by a numeric assignment, not by name. The semi-finalists will be selected from the applicant pool at our Jan. 20 search committee meeting. As required by state law, the identity of all applicants will be kept confidential within the search committee.

Semi-finalists will participate in interviews via 90-minute ‘virtual video’ sessions during the week of Feb. 14-18. All candidates will be asked the same questions, asked by same committee member, in the same sequence. Concurrently, AGB Search will be conducting reference and background checks on semi-finalists.

At a time to be determined, the search committee will meet the week of Feb. 21-25 to select three finalists. The three finalists, again as required by state law, will be announced publicly, and will visit Western Colorado University for interviews with the full Board of Trustees and meetings with various campus stakeholders the week of March 7-11.

The Board of Trustees will make the final decision on the presidential selection at its regularly scheduled meeting on March 24, 2022.

James Pribyl

Chair, Presidential Search Committee

January 21, 2022 Presidential Search Update

The Western Colorado University Presidential Search Committee, meeting virtually for nearly three hours on Thursday, January 20, selected eight applicants as semi-finalists and two alternates from nearly 80 applications received by the January 10, 2022, deadline.

The semi-finalists will each will be interviewed in a 90-minute ‘virtual’ session during the week of February 14-18. All candidates will be asked the same questions, asked by same committee member, in the same sequence. Previously, at its January 13 meeting the committee debated and approved interview questions consistent with the university’s Leadership Profile. Concurrently, AGB Search will be conducting reference and background checks on semi-finalists. Pursuant to Colorado state law, the semi-finalists remain confidential.

“The Presidential Search Committee is very pleased with the diversity, leadership experience and commitment to student success demonstrated by our slate of semi-finalists” said James Pribyl, Western’s search committee chair. “Every member of the committee deserves the appreciation of the Western community for the time and diligence invested in evaluating applicants to determine the best possible choices for the Board of Trustees and community to consider. Our next step is extensive interviews with each semi-finalist, and selecting the very best finalists for the full board to interview,” said Pribyl.

At a time to be determined, the search committee will meet the week of February 21-25 to select three finalists. The three finalists, again as required by state law, will be announced publicly, and will visit Western Colorado University for interviews with the full Board of Trustees and meetings with various campus stakeholders the week of March 7-11.

The Board of Trustees will make the final decision on the presidential selection at its regularly scheduled meeting on March 24, 2022.

For more information contact the Presidential Search Committee at presidentialsearch@western.edu.

Dear Western Community:

The work of the Presidential Search Committee has continued and we remain on track with our timeline. Last week we interviewed eight semi-finalists and selected our finalist candidates on February 19.

Our search firm, AGB Search, is conducting the necessary reference and background checks before the finalists are announced either Feb. 28 or March 1.

The finalist candidates will be on campus for Board of Trustee interviews and stakeholder sessions with faculty, staff, students and the public on March 7-11. Just as we welcomed input from stakeholders to create the Leadership Profile, each candidate will meet with various campus and community groups. We will post a preliminary schedule to our webpage. Please note the schedule may be subject to changes.

As a reminder, information regarding the search can be found on our Presidential Search page. Additionally, should you have any questions, you may submit them via email to presidentialsearch@western.edu.

Kind regards,

James Pribyl

Presidential Search Committee chair

Dear Campus Community,

The Presidential Search Committee is pleased to announce the finalists for President of Western Colorado University:

  • Brad Baca of Western Colorado University in Gunnison, CO
  • Maria Klawe of Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA
  • Michelle Rogers of the University of Redlands in Redlands, CA

Please see the attached press release which will be distributed publicly this afternoon.  To view detailed bios and CVs for all candidates, please visit our Presidential Search webpage.  You can also find the schedule for stakeholder forums for each candidate that will be held on campus next week.  A survey link to provide feedback on each candidate will be posted to the website soon.

Regards,

Jim Pribyl

Chair, Presidential Search Committee

Take the Next Step

Apply to Western

Apply to Western

We understand that applying to a university can be daunting, which is why we make our admission process as simple and straightforward as possible. Learn more about applying to your program of choice at Western.

Visit Western

Visit Western

The best way to find out what makes Western such a special place is to experience it for yourself. Our student-led tours give you an insider’s perspective on everything from academics to student life.

Alumni Community

Alumni Community

We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.