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Search committee forms in order to replace Holmgren

Two weeks after the current Mills College president announced she will be stepping down next year, the Board of Trustees formed a Presidential Search Committee to find her successor.

President Janet Holmgren said she will exit the position at the end of the 2010-11 academic year. As Holmgren finishes her last 16 months in office, the Presidential Search Committee will be working to select her successor.

A week after Holmgren’s impromptu Feb. 22 gathering during which she made the announcement, Kathleen Burke, Chair of the Board of Trustees, wrote in a March 1 e-mail addressed to the community that fellow trustee and Mills alumna Wendy Brody will lead the search process.

Brody is excited about being in charge of finding Mills its new President and she feels that the College is in a good position to do so.

“We have had a very strong President,” Brody said “and the college is in really good shape.”

Brody will be in charge of forming which trustees, faculty, staff, alumnae and students serve on the committee.

Brody said all members of the community are encouraged to make suggestions about who should be part of the committee. As part of her role Brody is asking Holmgren, Provost Sandra Greer, Dean of Students Joi Lewis, alumnae and the president of the Alumnae Association for recommendations, according to a campus-wide e-mail she sent March 10.

“We have to be sure to get people who will think of the whole institution,” Brody said by telephone. It is important to her that selected committee members seek a candidate that serves the College’s interests rather than their own, she said.

Students have been asked to submit self-nominations for inclusion on the committee. Lewis sent a list of requirements to the community on March 3, which included understanding “the mission and vision of the College” and having “the ‘pulse’ on the students/campus/academic life.”

Brody is also in charge of choosing a search firm – a group of consultants that specialize in identifying candidates for open positions – to help the College find its next president. The search firms Brody is looking into specialize in academic searches.

She said she expects the Presidential Search Committee will begin working with the selected firm sometime this spring. They hope to conduct interviews with candidates by the summer and fall of this year and choose a candidate by winter.

The committee will be sending out e-mails to the Mills community with information regarding its progress. Updates will also be posted online.