Community Update 10/15/17

Presidential Search Committee

I am pleased to report to the University of Maine/University of Maine at Machias community on behalf of the UMaine Presidential Search Committee. The search for a successor to President Hunter is critically important to the future of the University of Maine and our state.   I am honored that Board of Trustees Chair James Erwin has asked me to serve as Chair of the Search Committee.

Over the summer, the University of Maine Presidential Search got off to a good start with appointment of committee members and selection of the search consultant. In September the consultant conducted listening sessions for constituent groups to provide input about opportunities and challenges to UMaine and desired characteristics for the next president, and the search committee held its first meeting. The position was advertised starting in the last week of September.


The committee is fully constituted with 18 members. This is larger by three than our standard presidential search committee, in accordance with the Board’s decision to add three members to represent the University of Maine at Machias. Committee members are:

James Donnelly, Trustee
Lisa Eames, Trustee
Mike Scott, Faculty
Jean MacRae, Faculty
David Townsend, Faculty
Tora Johnson, UMM Faculty
Philip Hamilton, Board of Visitors
Charles Rudelitch, UMM Board of Visitors
John Simpson, Community
Elisabeth Kilroy, Graduate Student
Thilee Yost, Student
Samuel Borer, Student alternate
Sarah Joughin, Salaried Staff
Laurie Fullerton, Hourly Staff
John Rebar, Academic Administrator
Dan Qualls, UMM Administrator
Vendean Vafiades, Chancellor’s Representative

In this work we will be assisted by Shelly Weiss Storbeck of Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates as our search consultant. Ms. Storbeck has a great deal of experience in executive search in higher education. She has a keen understanding of higher education and the headwinds facing public higher education. She also has a fondness for Maine and spends time each summer in Poland, Maine. She and her associate Ethan Dubow will work closely with the committee and the candidates.

Progress to Date

On September 13, 14 and 15, Ms. Storbeck and Mr. Dubow conducted a site visit and listening sessions to gather input from faculty, students, staff, President Hunter, the UMaine cabinet and deans, Chancellor Page, and University of Maine at Machias leaders and campus community. This input from the listening sessions was combined with the Trustees’ input and input from the search committee to create the position description.

The search committee met on September 15 for its initial organizing meeting and planning for the search. We received the charge to the committee and draft criteria from the Board of Trustees from Chancellor Page, reviewed the input from the site visit, and discussed committee members’ views on the position and the characteristics of a successful candidate. We also discussed confidentiality and Maine’s public access law. I was pleased with the contributions of all search committee members and thank them for their willingness to serve on this committee, which will require a lot of time and attention over the next six months.

In the last week of September and first week of October, the opening for President was posted on a number of national and local websites and publications, including the Chronicle of Higher Education. We are casting a wide net to attract highly qualified candidates to lead UMaine.

The position description has been finalized and produced in a format to provide a great deal of information about UMaine as well as the priorities for the next president and characteristics we are seeking. The position description or Prospectus is a key tool used in attracting candidates and in discussing the positon with them. The consultants will reach out to potential applicants who meet our criteria, including those not actively seeking a new position. This process of building the applicant pool is critical to the success of the search.

The consultants and committee will review all applications, and by the end of the first semester we will select approximately 8 candidates for first round interviews. The first round interviews will take place in January. We will then conduct reference checks and select 3 or 4 finalists to invite for campus visits in February.

This timeline will result in the committee reporting to the Chancellor by late February. We will report strengths and limitations of the finalists without ranking. The Chancellor will select a candidate to recommend to the Board of Trustees for approval at the March Board meeting or at a special meeting prior to that date.

To learn more about the search

The search committee has a website You can go there to see the Prospectus, the committee’s charge and procedures, and other documents related to the search. I will periodically update the university community and the updates will be posted on the website. While our work of assessing candidates is highly confidential, I will keep you up to date on the status of the search and where we are in the process. When it is time to invite finalists for campus visits, information about the candidates and the visits will be posted on the website.

Let Us Hear from You

There are several ways you can assist the search and communicate with the committee.

  • If you know of someone who would be a good candidate for president, please send the name to our consultant Shelly Weiss Storbeck at
  • There is a survey on the search website (edu/president-announcement) that you may use to provide your perspective on priorities for the next president and desired experiences and characteristics. See the tab “Provide Input.”
  • If you have questions or input for the committee, please contact Tracy Bigney who is providing staff support for the search. You can reach Tracy at or 581-5841.
  • When finalists visit campus in February there will be surveys through which you can provide your thoughts on their strengths and limitations.

Thank you for your support of our work to find a dynamic next president of the University of Maine.

Gregory Johnson
UMaine President Search Committee Chair