SPA Managing Partner Shelly Weiss Storbeck recently spoke to The Chronicle of Higher Education on the topic of new leaders who arrive on campus with extra baggage – a background “detail” that may (or may not) have been evident to trustees and search committee members during the search.
In January 2018 the leader who found herself in the midst of a maelstrom was Shirley M. Collado, the new president of Ithaca College. But it is not an uncommon scenario, and the Chronicle cites multiple examples.
In the article, titled "How a Nagging Detail Plays Out in a Presidential Search," Shelly is quoted as saying that it is in everyone’s best interest if there are “no surprises for the committee, and no surprises for the candidate.” Any candidate she works with who becomes a finalist is scrutinized on his or her record of criminal and civil litigation and military services, as well as references, negative press and social media history, and other areas.
Shelly has conducted more than 500 searches in her career. Recently she led presidential searches for the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Wisconsin, and Saint Joseph's University, and Denison, Kalamazoo, Swarthmore, and Whitman colleges, among others.