Presidential Succession: Where are We?

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Are we there yet? Where are we? We three children in the backseat of the family Ford sedan repeated such questions so often on long summer road trips that it must have driven our parents into that mental desert where parents hide to keep from saying or doing something they know they will regret. Impatience is a natural temptation for anyone on a long voyage of any kind—physical, spiritual or organizational. Sometimes we may jump backward in time during these processes, but it seems more common to mentally jump ahead, or to simply lose track of where we are or where we should be.

The planned, prayerful and orderly process to replace the president of Fresno Pacific University can feel like one of those long drives in the family car. I was the oldest child of the backseat trio, so I was the first one who learned how to read a map and track our progress. It didn’t make the trip take any less time, but it did reduce by almost one-third the number of times my parents had to answer questions about where we were. So here again is the presidential transition timeline, with a few comments about where we are.

Fresno Pacific University, Presidential Transition Timeline

September 2015

  • Selected trustees screen search consultants
  • Release draft transition timetable

October 2015

  • Board executive committee chooses search consultant
  • Search consultant is retained and begins service

February 2016

  • Search consultant trains trustees at the board retreat

March-May 2016

  • Develop search materials including the institutional situation, position description and presidential qualifications

June 2016

  • Board appoints presidential search committee

June 2016-Feb. 2017

  • Search committee with support from counsel identifies, evaluates and ranks the top candidates

February 2017

  • Board appoints president and the appointment is publicized

July 2017

  • President begins service

October 2017

  • Presidential inauguration

Depending on how God leads and provides, the process could take less or more time than is indicated in this plan, but the sequence still guides. The FPU Board of Trustees has selected Paul Corts, Ph.D., as the external search consultant to help guide and support efforts to find and recruit the leader that God has prepared for the role of president at Fresno Pacific University. Paul was a successful Christian college president and also was president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU). Because of my unusual situation, I am serving as an internal support person for the search process.

Paul will meet with the trustees during their board retreat in February 2016. The next major step after that training will be to prepare the current profile of FPU and the profile of the kind of president the board is seeking to hire. The institutional profile includes every major aspect of FPU from accreditation and athletics to facilities and finances. With those search materials in hand, a search committee will be formed and Paul will work with it to actively seek the best available match between the leadership that FPU needs and a person who is willing to leave their current assignment in God’s kingdom and accept the assignment of FPU president.

You can see all the steps in this process on the President’s Page of the FPU website.

We have a long way to travel, so it is good that we each have plenty to keep us busy during the trip. But let’s be sure to keep praying for those who must make key decisions along the way, including our next president.