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Update on Presidential Search

At this mornings Ephraim Williams Society breakfast, Morty gave an update on the Presidential Search. First, the Search Committee is looking at 8-10 candidates in a serios fashion, checking resumes and so on. That seems consistent with the recent update:

The Committee has followed up on submitted names and held frequent conference calls to review the pool. We gathered in Williamstown yesterday to review our progress to date.

That progress, we are glad to report, has been substantial. We have held almost 40 meetings with potential candidates. Small teams representing each segment of our membership — students, trustees, faculty, and staff — have traveled across the country to talk personally with the men and women who aspire to lead Williams in the years ahead.

We will now conduct follow-up interviews with the most promising candidates prior to submitting the results of our work to the Board of Trustees, which has the responsibility of naming the next President.

As always, Morty is more forthcoming than official publications from the College.

Second, Morty (who is not involved in the process directly) reported that the Committee would probably reduce the pool to 2 or 3 finalists in the next “month or two.” Third, Morty mentioned that timing was always difficult to predict, but he thought that we might have an announcement before Septenber 1, with a start date for the new President of either September or next January.

Comments:

1) I still hope that the Committee selects Cappy Hill ’76, for all the reasons given previously. But, given this news, I would say that Cappy’s appointment is somewhat less likely than it appeared 6 months ago. The key issue is timing. Cappy has only been president of Vassar for 3 years. If she leaves tomorrow, she is something of a bad person (depending in your point of view). One possibility is that the Commitee appoints her with a starting date of July 1, 2010. Giving Vassar 4 years (and an entire year to find a next President) is reasonable. If we haven ‘t heard anything before the fall, then the Committee might appoint her for July 1, 2011.

2) A sometimes knowledgeable alum writes:

What about trolling for the new president? You heard it here. Pam Carlton or Clayton Spencer. At best these would be neutral, one decidedly negative.

Who is Pam Carlton? I doubt that Williams would choose someone like Spencer ’77 without a Ph.D., despite her extensive experience in higher education. Spencer is on the Search Committee. Political junkies will recall that Dick Cheney went from leading George W. Bush’s search for a running mate to being the running mate.

Not that I am comparing Spencer to Cheney, of course. ;-)

3) I assume that Nancy Roseman is one of the 8-10 finalists. She is clearly interested in more senior jobs and it would be a serious insult for the Committee not to take her application seriously. I could also imagine her as one of the 2-3 finalists. Not because I think that Williams would ever choose her (that seems highly unlikely) but because a smart search committee stacks the finalists so that the whole board picks the candidate the search committee wants. Roseman was clearly just a stalking horse for the insider candidate for the Exeter job.

4) What other candidates are plausible?

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#1 Comment By hwc On June 12, 2009 @ 11:16 am

If Roseman had been a serious candidate, wouldn’t she have been named the Acting President? Or just named outright to start July 1st? I don’t see it.

#2 Comment By David Kane On June 12, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

All depends on what you mean by “serious.” I bet that she 1) Applied and 2) Was considered among the 8-10 serious candidates who got to meet with portions of the Search Committee.

Given who record/reputation, I don’t think she ever had much of a chance.

But someone wise in the ways of Search Committees (and involved with the Williams search) told me that all sorts of weird things can happen . . .

#3 Comment By hwc On June 12, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

I don’t doubt that she might have been given a courtesy “serious” designation as you outline.

I thought I had some good guesses for female Swarthmore President (a college President and an executive VP of the University of Washingon — both alums), but they ended up with somebody with a much stronger resume than either. So, I don’t know if I can even guess who Williams is talking to. I don’t have any idea what they want in a President.

I hope Wick Sloane made it the final round of interviews. He’d give the Williams trustees heartburn.

#4 Comment By JG On June 12, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

I think it’s somewhat hard to make a prediction about this b/c current college presidents (or top execs) are unlikely to advertise that they’re looking around…Morty seemed to get pretty far into the NW deal before anywbody knew.

Obviously a Williams connection is important, but there are many former professors kicking around out in academia that we may not immediately think of.

Regardless, I’m looking forward to hearing who the top 2-3 candidates are.

#5 Comment By Jon Maxwell On June 12, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

What about Anthony Kronman, Williams undergrad, Yale law professor and dean of Yale Law School, and author of many books, including Education’s End, which calls for renewal of liberal arts education? He’s an “outside the box” type of candidate, but a very interesting one.

#6 Comment By Guy Creese ’75 On June 13, 2009 @ 7:08 am

Part of figuring out who the next President will be is understanding the post-Morty dynamics. Often the college will lurch between an outsider (to bring in fresh ideas) and an insider (so he or she doesn’t screw up Williams too badly). For example, Hank Payne was an outsider as a counterbalance to Frank Oakley as an insider. Morty was a two-fer: he was coming from USC (making him an outsider) but had taught at Williams (and so was an insider).

Other yin-yang characteristics are:
– Concentrate on fund-raising or internal issues?
– Teacher/President or administrator/President?

In short, who wins depends a lot on what the Trustees figure are the more pressing problems at the moment. For example, President Sawyer had abolished fraternities, admitted women, and built a lot of buildings. President Chandler was hired after him to fund-raise: the Trustees felt the college was in good shape education-wise, but needed a larger endowment to backstop Sawyer’s spending.

#7 Comment By Daniel Bornstein On June 14, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

I think it’s important to discuss the priorities that the new president needs to address. Can somebody please update me on what Morty has done for the College? And what improvements or policies does Williams want the next president to follow?

#8 Comment By hwc On June 14, 2009 @ 8:03 pm

Daniel:

Here’s the link to the prospectus that explains what Williams is looking for in a new President. It appears that they want everything including the kitchen sink, so it’s hard for me to narrow the field from this document.

I suggested some time ago that they would be pushing very hard to hire the first woman, but most of the Williams community members here were adament that I was making a ridiculous suggestion. If that sentiment is representative, then I suppose we’ll see another male, perhaps leaking the name of a female “finalist” to calm the Williams constituencies who would be disappointed.

#9 Comment By lgeorge On June 14, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

Re #8:

” …most of the Williams community members here were adament that I was making a ridiculous suggestion.”

Huh? I mentioned Cappy right away as someone the College should look at, before even DK, who brought her up soon thereafter. I haven’t seen evidence of the animus against female candidates amongst Ephblog posters that you implied, but perhaps it happened during one of the periods when I was away from the blog. Could you point me toward it?

I do hope and think that the Trustees will want the best candidate and won’t pander to get an “X” or a “Y” or a “Z” solely for the sake of getting an “X” or a “Y” or a “Z” — and particularly so in these perilous times. Much though I’d like to see a female president, I’d be very sad, for Williams and for all of the people for whom having a female president would have special meaning, if a woman were selected who wasn’t an extremely strong candidate and then president and who wasn’t really good/the best for Williams. (And, not being privy to what a selection committee that was worth its salt should uncover, I can’t tell whether Cappy or any other particular individual is a good choice.)

#10 Comment By sophmom On June 14, 2009 @ 9:55 pm

LG:

There is a bit of selective memory going on at #8.

No one was “adamant” that HWC’s suggestion of a woman was “ridiculous”. The reaction from “the Williams community members” on that thread (in which several women participated) was in how he attacked the search committee, saying things like:

I cannot imagine how the failure to appoint a woman President of Williams could be viewed as anything but the work of the good ol’ boys club.

Go here for a full recap. (if you dare ;-))

#11 Comment By JeffZ On June 14, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

Yeah, exactly sophmom. We were only adamant about one thing: that HWC’s insistence that a failure to hire a woman would automatically equate to sexism. That is an insulting and offensive proposition, not to mention a stupid one. We’d all be happy to see a qualified woman who is a good fit hired. We would NOT be happy if, just because a man happens to be hired, HWC cries sexism, as he has already signaled his intention to do by presumptively and preemptively deeming any such outcome as automatically sexist. By the way, I am not sure what HWC does for a career, but I think if he is really so committed to the cause, he should put his money where his mouth is and resign from his job so a woman can be hired in his stead — after all, it can only possibly be sexism that led to his being hired in the first place, right?

#12 Comment By hwc On June 14, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

I wrote:

I suggested some time ago that they would be pushing very hard to hire the first woman, but most of the Williams community members here were adament that I was making a ridiculous suggestion.

The readers here generally thought I was ridiculous for suggesting that the Trustees should make it priority (i.e. push very hard) to hire a female.

I accept the prevailing view of the Williams community (at least as expressed here) that gender should not be a priority factor in hiring at Williams.

I never suggested that the EphBlog members think it would be ridiculous to hire a woman. That’s a strawman argument.

#13 Comment By hwc On June 14, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

Let me pose a very simple question for the Eph constituents repreented on EphBlog:

Do you believe that ther is any pressure on the Board of Trustees from the Williams community to push very hard to hire a female President and give preference to a qualified female candidate?

#14 Comment By sophmom On June 14, 2009 @ 11:39 pm

Alert:

Strawman Strawwoman @ 12

Link to original thread @ 10.

#15 Comment By hwc On June 14, 2009 @ 11:51 pm

Care to express an opinion on #13 Sophmom?

I personally believe that the Trustees should push very hard to hire a female and give a preference to a qualified candidate, but I don’t believe there will be pressure from the Williams community to do so.

If I had to make a small wager, I’d bet that Williams hires a white male.

#16 Comment By sophmom On June 15, 2009 @ 12:17 am

HWC,

We had this conversation already. I suggest you go back to the link @ 10. But lemme take a look, hold on, be right back….

…okay, I found one of several comments that will do just fine. Here is #37, which I will just click and paste here as well…

It would be great if they hire a woman. You have no argument on that point.
But the smartest thing, and the right thing, is to find someone with all the right qualities. The packaging should not be the priority.

Now, no offense, but I really don’t want to have the conversation all over again.

#17 Comment By sophmom On June 15, 2009 @ 12:26 am

And if you don’t like mine, here is a great one from JG (another woman) @ comment #28 of that thread

Having a woman head up Williams would be wonderful. We already do, however, have a lot of women in prominent positions even if not at the top. Those steps have been important. Having a President who will keep the interests of the Williams community (including women) in mind is more important. This was my biggest gripe with some (not all) of the rabid Hillary-ites during the election. Selecting someone who will do the most for my interests as a woman does not necessarily require having a woman in charge. Obviously, it would be great if we had the first woman prez of Williams (and I know we will soon even if not this time) but I am not so short-sighted as to think getting someone in the position is the end of the story.

#18 Comment By hwc On June 15, 2009 @ 12:38 am

Thanks. So the count so far is apparently two members of the Eph community, both females, who do not believe the Trustees should make it a priority or give a preference to hiring a female President.

I believe the will be the near unanimous view of the Eph community, at least as expressed here on EphBlog.

#19 Comment By sophmom On June 15, 2009 @ 12:51 am

@ 18:

Righto. Sure thing. Whatever. Done here with you.

JG:

Sorry about subjecting your lovely comment to such woeful and intentional misinterpretation. If you want me to delete it, I will.

#20 Comment By Wick Sloane On June 15, 2009 @ 6:34 am

Annalee Saxenian, ’76, Dean of the school of information architecture at Cal Berkeley. Author of “Regional Advantage” about why Silicon Valley beat out Route 128. PhD, MIT. Wonderful person. She would do a fine job as president. She has a Williams economics degree and a solid Ph.D. and has gone on to do original and superb academic work looking at fresh and new questions.

http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~anno/

Check it out and bury Greg Avis with e-mails.

Come on, Ephbloggers — are you really trying here? Who are the dept chairs and deans and provosts at the Ivies who would want to be president? Who are provosts and presidents in liberal arts colleges? You should be able to come up with the 40 names. Probably a woman, not for the sake of a woman but because the the first generation of post-glass-ceiling higher-ed women — Cappy Hill and Anno (and Faust at Harvard and Hochfield at MIT) to name a few — are now ready to be presidents.

My offer stands. Sad to say, not among the forty contacted so far.

My Application, President of Williams, InsideHigherEd, February 8, 2009
http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2009/02/06/sloane

Some fun: I mentioned in the column that as President I’d follow Smith’s great Ada Comstock Scholars program, which brings in older women, often with children, who didn’t get our lucky breaks the first time around. A friend at Smith sent me the link — Smith included the column in Smith in the News. Williams did not. Nor the one in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine two weeks ago about my student, though Williams in the News has another Globe/Williams story from that day. The article was, to be fair, about the increasing irrelevance of four-year colleges. Still, not very sporting of Williams, though the Williams news folks would be nuts to have posted either.

Bart Giamatti, my favorite college president ever, was, according to reliable rumors, Yale’s 26th choice for president back when he was chosen. An English major, too. Perhaps Williams will get to the 41st choice.

Hard to imagine a good candidate who would take the job. My uncoventional candidacy aside, I think the economic wreckage of the endowment and the budget, Paresky and now-dormant flat-screen televisions, and the trustees unwillingness to own up to the idea that there are some questions that need public answers make it hard to imagine who, among good candidates, would take the job.

#21 Comment By JeffZ On June 15, 2009 @ 6:47 am

Wick, while you have some great outside the box ideas, you kinddaaaa undermine your own credibility just a bit when you claim that it is hard to imagine a good candidate who would take a job at the helm of among the most prestigious, and certainly among the most financially sound, educational institutions in the country. If Williams and its essentially brand-new campus, pool of insanely talented applicants dying to gain acceptance, unmatched group of loyal alums, and among the highest per-student endowments in the country would have trouble attracting good applicants, that means that no good applicant in the country is interested in becoming a college President anywhere — a pretty ridiculous comment. Even after the, as you call it, “economic wreckage” of the endowment, Williams now is in a much stronger financial position that 99 percent of academic institutions were at the very peak of the economy. The Williams Presidency remains one of the truly choice positions in the world of academia, and really, the world, period. I hope, like you, that the college picks a slightly outside-the-box thinker (thought I’m sure not miles outside the box as you would like), but believe me, there will be no shortage of immensely qualified people who would kill for this job. That is the least of Williams’ concerns.

#22 Comment By JeffZ On June 15, 2009 @ 6:59 am

Why do we even bother to engage HWC, I wonder sometimes? He will just say ridiculous things, then lie about when we said. Fortunately, Soph Mom linked to the previous thread, where we can all see the ridiculous things HWC said before, and now claims he didn’t. Here are just a few examples from your prior thread. What we objected to was not a suggestion that hey, it would be great if Williams made an effort to hire a woman President — you never MADE that suggestion. We objected to the (as always, put in the snidest, nastiest, most patronizing way possible — a true gift you seem to have) contention that if a man is hired, it would, by necessity be sexist, we objected to the idea that Williams has “no choice” but to hire a woman, we objected most of all to your trying to tell women alumni of Williams how they should act and feel, and equating any women who don’t object to the hiring of a male President to sitting at the back of the bus. Kind of ironic for someone who claims (cough cough bullshit) to be some sort of gender rights pioneer to claim to know what’s best for all women, and to order all women to act and feel a certain way. Hard to imagine a more sexist, patronizing, demeaning attitude coming from a man. You pull the same crap with every sports argument — say something completely (a) false, (b) stupid, (c) prejudiced, (d) nasty, (e) usually all of the above, then when we object claim we are objecting to some reasonably claim that you NEVER ACTUALLY MADE, AND WE NEVER ACTUALLY OBJECTED TO. Nothing you say has any credibility because all you do on this site is troll and then lie. I can’t think of any other poster on this site who consistently employs this technique, certainly not to the degree you do. Here is a brief sampling of your choicest nuggets from the past thread. Can’t hide from own words, I’m afraid:

“I cannot imagine how the failure to appoint a woman President of Williams could be viewed as anything but the work of the good ol’ boys club. Even Princeton has a woman President.”

“I think that Williams, like Swarthmore, has no choice but to appoint its first woman President almost a decade into the 21st Century and”

“Women are their own worst enemies when it comes to rationalizing why they should continue to ride at the back of the bus. This whole discussion has the tone, “it’s alright, sweetie, someday there will be a woman Presisent of Williams, but for now we might need the qualities of a man…”

Does it ever occur to anyone that the qualities of a female President might be exactly what Williams needs to finally move beyond all this silly “reclaiming Williams” posturing and finally DO something about campus climate?”

#23 Comment By hwc On June 15, 2009 @ 9:56 am

I’d follow Smith’s great Ada Comstock Scholars program, which brings in older women…

Wick, the Comstock Scholars program has been significantly curtailed as part of Smith’s budget cutting. Smith is funding 25% fewer Comstock scholars in next year’s freshman class. This follows a 23% decline in applications for the program in recent years.

#24 Comment By hwc On June 15, 2009 @ 10:01 am

JeffZ:

Back to my question. Do you believe that Williams should place a high priority on appointing a female President and give a preference to a qualified female applicant?

So far, in the early returns, I am the only member of the Eph community, as represented on EphBlog who believes that (after 200+ years) Williams should do this — although Wick provides the name of a qualified female candidate and suggests e-mailing the chair of the search committee.

#25 Comment By JeffZ On June 15, 2009 @ 10:14 am

HWC, you didn’t ask that question in the earlier thread. What you said, boiled down, was “if Williams does not appoint a woman, the selection process is necessarily sexist by implication; moreover, women affiliated with Williams are stupid / self-destructive unless they do as I demand and protest / boycot the selection of any non-female President.” If you had wanted an honest discussion in reasonable terms of these issues, there could have been one. But you did not. You wanted to be a jackass and piss a lot of people off, especially the women alums like JG whose intelligence you demeanded (and JG is a very reasonable person, so shouldn’t it bother you as someone who supposedly cares about what women think that she found your statements so offensive? Serious, for once in your extremely unpleasant and unproductive posting history, take a step back and take an honest appraisal of the reactions you are eliciting from those you are purportedly attempting to persuade. Do yourself, and all of us, a favor). So be it.

Notwithstanding your being a complete ass on this topic, I will give my view point per your request. If the best candiate happens to be a woman, I’d of course want Williams to pick the woman. If there are two candidates who are essentially equal or close to equal in every respect, who would both do a great job, I’d love to see Williams go with the female candiate (or, for that matter, a minority candidate). If the best three candidates end up being men, and the fourth best candidate ends up being a woman, then no, I would not want Williams to forego the best three candidates in order to pick a female President. I have no idea who the best candidates are likely to be, so that is as specific as I am able to be at this time.

#26 Comment By sophmom On June 15, 2009 @ 10:31 am

Wick,

Saxenian looks like a terrific candidate, however, in this bio she talks about her two teenage boys. IMO, that is a difficult age on which to foist this kind of a move and could be a key factor in whether she would consider the job.

Now you, on the other hand…

;-)

#27 Comment By hwc On June 15, 2009 @ 11:03 am

HWC, you didn’t ask that question in the earlier thread.

I asked it in this thread. It’s a reasonable question for discussion. So far, the tally appears to be three votes that Williams should not place a high priority on hiring a female President and should not give a preference to a qualified female candidate, except as a tie-breaker.

I do not expect many members of the Williams community, as represented on EphBlog to agree with the premise that Williams should place a high priority on hiring a female President. I don’t know if that sentiment is refected in the search committee or not.

#28 Comment By rory On June 15, 2009 @ 11:05 am

I say Williams should try to bring in Hillary as our next president. Imagine the possibilities! YES WE CAN!

#29 Comment By sophmom On June 15, 2009 @ 11:40 am

Do you believe that Williams should place a high priority on appointing a female President and give a preference to a qualified female applicant?

HWC, define your idea of “qualified”, please. Because I can remember all too well when you wanted Sarah Palin to run the country. I think that’s the problem so many of us have with your idea of “preference”.

#30 Comment By JeffZ On June 15, 2009 @ 11:45 am

I could also ask HWC the same loaded question, because apparently he doesn’t place any importance on Williams seeking out and hiring a non-white or non-straight President … right?

#31 Comment By hwc On June 15, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

How about if we use the same standard for qualifications that Williams used for the last two selections:

Harry C. Payne

Yale BA
Yale PhD
Colgate faculty
Haverford Provost
Haverford Acting President
Hamilton Presdident

Morton Schapiro

Hofstra BA
Penn PhD
Williams faculty
USC faculty
USC Dean College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences
USC VP Planning

I believe that any college, including Williams, making it a priority to hire a female President, can find excellent candidates with at least those qualifications from the ranks of existing Presidents (like Payne) or Deans, Provosts, and chief financial or operating officers at major universities (like Schapiro).

Here is a partial list of colleges and universities that have been able to appoint a female president (currently or in the recent past):

Brown
Cambridge (UK)
Duke University
Harvard
Michigan
MIT
Ohio State
Princeton
Purdue
RPI
Syracuse
UCSD
UMiami
UNLV
Upenn

Barnard
Bates
Bryn Mawr
Claremont McKenna
Colgate
Connecticut
Gettysburg
Hamilton
Harvey Mudd
Kalamazoo
Lehigh
Mt.Holyoke
Oberlin
Pitzer
Sarah Lawrence
Scripps
Smith
Swarthmore
Vassar
Wellesley
Whittier

#32 Comment By rory On June 15, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

haven’t we been through this? wasn’t it this much yelling at each other with no hearing then also? why are we doing it again?

(it’d be one thing if anyone in this “conversation” were new to it, but we’ve seen hwc and jeffz fight on this issue before. In fact, Ronit already made my Hillary joke in that earlier thread!)

#33 Comment By sophmom On June 15, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

I don’t know Rory, I see evidence of a turn in the conversation.

HWC has proven he has very high standards for the qualifications of a female president for Williams. That is truly heartening and a real difference from what he was willing to settle for in a U.S. Vice Presidential candidate.

So, let’s hear it for “CHANGE”!

(And FWIW, I’d go for Hillary as well, but I thinks she’s busy.)

#34 Comment By hwc On June 15, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

That is truly heartening and a real difference from what he was willing to settle for in a U.S. Vice Presidential candidate.

Hey. Don’t blame me. Joe Biden wasn’t my guy. He’s a piece of work, huh?

————-

Meanwhile, back on topic:

I don’t think that Payne or Schapiro had exceptionally high qualifications on paper (although Schapiro had the Williams connection and an interesting academic specialty). Williams should be able to attract dozens of candidates with resumes like that or stronger who would jump at the job (although Wick might not count them among the ranks of “good” candidates).

#35 Comment By sophmom On June 15, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

Hey. Don’t blame me. Joe Biden wasn’t my guy. He’s a piece of work, huh?

Now don’t go picking on Joe, or I just might have to pull some of your past-Palin-poeticisms-and-predictions out of the archives. And that would be way too many p’s for any of us to mind.

And back to topic:

I’d be curious to hear more about Wick’s competition, male and female. Kronman was an interesting mention, and I remember reading about Saxenien last year. (I think it was related to one of her books.)

#36 Comment By hwc On June 15, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

From the sounds of his book, Kronman would be viewed as a real slap in the face to the diversity PC crowd. Championing the study of dead white guy classics is a major hot button divide between the righties and the lefties. See the “Choosing the Right College” published by the right-wingers at ISI.

I think there are probably constituencies on the Williams board who would applaud this move, I think it would just be a needless headache with not much upside.

#37 Comment By JeffZ On June 15, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

For better or for worse, the ability to raise money will always be a prime determinant in who gets selected, considering that is where almost all college presidents spend an ever-increasing amount of time, and I can’t imagine that is about to change. How that ability is determined, I have no idea, but presumably the selection committee does.

#38 Comment By lgeorge On June 15, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

Re 34 and “I don’t think that Payne or Schapiro had exceptionally high qualifications on paper (although Schapiro had the Williams connection and an interesting academic specialty).” — Harry Payne had tip-top academic credentials. He was first in his class at Yale, despite graduating a year early. He also sailed through his doctorate in near record time and with great honor at Yale. He had been Provost and Acting President at one LAC (Haverford) and President of another (Hamilton) and had been on the faculty of a third LAC (Colgate). In addition, as the first Jewish president of Williams, he brought diversity to a campus that not too many years before had discouraged Jews from applying (and had a history until towards the end of the fraternity era, of denying Jews membership in the frats). Whatever you may have thought about him, those would seem to be “exceptionally high qualifications on paper” to be the President of Williams at a point on the cycle where the Trustees were looking for an “outside” candidate.

Schapiro and his academic qualifications and administrative experience? Not so impressive.

#39 Comment By hwc On June 15, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

lgeorge:

I did not mean to imply at all that their credentials weren’t impressive. Rather, I was suggesting that Williams should be able to attract a number of candidates, including a number of women, with credentials that equal or surpass those of the last two male Presidents (on paper).

For example, Rebecca Chopp (She’s taken, but I assume there are others who would consider a Williams opportunity):

Kansas Wesleyan – BA
St. Paul School of Theology – M.Div (Methodist minister)
UChicago – PhD
Emory University – faculty
Emory Univerity – Dean, School of Theology
Emoory University – Provost
Emory University – Exec. VP Academic Affairs
Yale Univerity – Dean, School of Theology
Colgate – President (7 years)

#40 Comment By hwc On June 15, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

BTW, with Schapiro, I think you have to give “extra credit” for being a national expert on the economics of higher educationa and the pricing discount struture of LACs. He had written a book, I believe, detailing the economic challenges facing LACs, the price discounting (merit and otherwise), and so forth.

#41 Comment By jeffz On June 15, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

On paper, I would not say Chopp’s credentials surpass, or even equal, Payne’s. Indeed, I’ve definitely seen you, HWC, hold your nose in a snobby put down of others who attended and/or worked for more prestigious institutions than Chopp, so I find it entertaining that, when it suits you, suddenly that is no obstacle (for the record, I agree with your newfound approach, not your prior one).

But I don’t think paper credentials are as important, in all events, as institutional fit, passion for Williams and what it represents and an ability to communicate that passion, bringing creative, outside-the-box ideas to the table that will push Williams in new directions without threatening its core character, ability to appease naturally opposed constituencies, charisma (particularly with big donors), jumping ability (OK maybe I’ll let that one slide) and a host of other characteristics that are far more important than sheer intellectual might. Basically, I think that the President needs to be a smart enough and respected enough scholar to pass the smell test with other faculty, but beyond that point, scholarly output is hardly something I rank high on my list of most desired attributes. As a President, you are a manager of scholars (among many others) rather than a king amongst scholars. Big difference. For all of these traits, I don’t think there is any correlation with race, gender or anything else, which is why I think Williams needs to be as open-minded as possible going into the process, without any pre-conceived idea of what the best fit will look like.

#42 Comment By JG On June 16, 2009 @ 12:13 am

Jeez I spend a whole day busy at work and then in meetings without access to the web and my old comments are resurrected and willfully misinterpreted.

I’m not going to engage much, as you can read the old thread. I will just say that some of us don’t think you need special preferences to pick a woman president of Williams. Some of us have confidence that there are highly qualified women who have earned the job and don’t need your patronizing bullshit masquerading as some kind of pro-woman position.

#43 Comment By hwc On June 16, 2009 @ 1:14 am

The positions at Emory and Yale plus seven years as a college president are the strength of Chopp’s resume. Provost and exec. VP of Emory is a very big position: two undergrad colleges, grad schools, business school, nursing school, med school. law school, divinity school. Dean of a grad school at Yale is top job in academia. Payne had nothing like that kind of experience on his resume. His adademic administrative resume was about like Cappy Hill’s. Solid, but not spectacular.

I presume you are dismissing Chopp because she was a first generation college student from a midwestern state who started out her education at local religious schools, becoming an ordained Methodist minister before being told her denomination would never give a woman a church.

JG:

I believe that counts as a fourth vote against Williams placing a priority on hiring a female President. I was right. I had the Williams community, at least as represented on EphBlog read correctly. No pressure on the search committtee from the Williams community to break the white male traditions. It will be interesting to see if any women make it to the interview round.

#44 Comment By JG On June 16, 2009 @ 1:58 am

HWC: the only vote of mine you can count is the one thinking that you behave like an ass on this site. I can only hope you’re less so in real life.

#45 Comment By hwc On June 16, 2009 @ 2:07 am

That’s a pleasant ad hominem attack.

#46 Comment By JeffZ On June 16, 2009 @ 6:49 am

Ephblog: where interminable doses of HWC’s bile, but not Dick Swart, DCat, and Nickerson, happens.

Wonderful. HWC is fast approaching Broadband territory with his constant baiting, misrepresentations / distortions, attacks on Ephbloggers and the broader Williams community, and never ending trolling.

As usual, HWC, you are attributing the exact opposite of what I said. It is you who, I am 99 percent sure, dismissed the credentials of someone with a similar background to Chopp in other contexts — only now to, when convenient to your point, do a total 180. I never did any such thing. In fact, if you read what I wrote rather just assuming some bizarre anti-woman agenda where none exists, you would have seen that. As I’ve said before, if you are consistently angering and offending a large number of otherwise totally reasonable, pleasant, constructive contributors to this blog, maybe you should, for the first time in your life, take a look in the mirror and consider what you are doing wrong. Nothing in my mind better encapsulated your nasty, hateful worldview than your comment on graduation — a wonderful life even for all involved that you boiled down to two paragraphs containing not one, not two, but SEVEN negative comments about everyone involved in the planning or participation of the ceremony — it was truly an astounding piece of work. And now you pretend to be some sort of crusader for women, while all you are doing is consistently coming off as a total sexist to the actual very intelligent, accomplished women who read and regularly comment on this blog. If that doesn’t set off any bells in your twisted frame of mind, I am not sure if anything ever will. I can’t think of one remotely positive thing you’ve ever had to say about Williams on this blog (or elsewhere). It’s like a sickness, and it’s really quite sad.

#47 Comment By hwc On June 16, 2009 @ 9:45 am

I am not assuming any “anti-woman” agenda. As far as I can tell based from the EphBlog sampling, the Williams community would not be against hiring a woman.

Frankly, I’m amazed this is such a sensitive subject. I just assumed that the Williams community would enthusiastically embrace the College making a high priority effort to hire the first woman President after 200 years. That is what is happening, for example, among the Ivy League univeristies and, for all we know, it is happenenign on the Williams search committee. I appear to be the only Eph alum here who believes the College should be making that kind of effort to hire a woman. I feel strongly that making that statement would be beneficial for the College in fundamental ways. If that makes me a “sexist”, so be it.

Tbis doesn’t strike me as unreasonable speculation in a thread that is entirely on the topic of speculation about a the search for the next President.

#48 Comment By frank uible On June 16, 2009 @ 10:04 am

It is clear to me that sexist discrimination will not have ceased until we will have stopped counting noses – the open question being what comes first the chicken or the egg.

#49 Comment By JG On June 16, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

hwc, all I’m left with is to comment on your behavior. I’ve repeatedly responded to your “argument,” if you can call it that, only to have my words willfully misinterpreted. So I did not avoid the argument, I responded to the argument and additionally commented on your behavior. Sorry if you can’t take it.

#50 Comment By Wick Sloane On June 17, 2009 @ 10:24 am

Why is the thread, save for some women here, about everything but education?

Williams has a first-rate fundraising development office. They do the hard work of identifying and all. I think we can assume that the Search Committee will pick someone with the interpersonal skills to work with the development team, and the alumni fundraisers, to get that part of the job done.

However out of the box or ridiculous, as above, my ideas may be, skip them all.

What is the education that Williams ought to be providing? Almost no one, save the lucky 50,000 or so students at Williams and the Ivies out of 12 million or so undergraduates in the nation, can complete college in four years anymore. The costs — college spending and tuition charged — have increased at a high rate.

Yes, admissions shows that there is a demand for Williams. What of bubbles and manias? There was a demand, unexamined, for sub-prime mortgages, too. Few stopped to wonder.

I realize that there is no support among the Trustees or active alumni for some radical change. So be it.

There is a leadership path, though, probably several, that lie between radical change and the probable business-as-usual lineup of traditional candidates who would, as stated above “kill” for the job.

Request for Ephblog growth: Don’t vilify me. I seek no credibility or acclaim. What are your idea for Williams?

#51 Comment By ttw On June 17, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

hwc is correct. Chopp is extremely well qualified. Emory is a multi-school research I institution with several schools (college, public health, theology) in the top ten and most in the top twenty and several departments that are among the strongest in the nation (evolutionary biology, jewish studies, political science, cardiology, ophthalmology, infectious diseases, neurology). The Provost’s office there steers that large ship. This, plus her work at Colgate, make her far more experienced than either Payne or Schapiro when they were appointed. Williams would do well to attract someone with a similar pedigree to Chopp.