FAQs regarding the first round of PSR’s Presidential Search

March 26, 2014
What now?
The Search continues, and indeed the second phase has already begun in concert with our consultant, AGB Search.  The firm is contracted to work the process with PSR until we have found our new President.

Why wasn't a candidate chosen?
Ultimately, none of the candidates were the right fit for PSR at this transformational time in the life of the school.

Is something up at PSR?
Yes!  The process that began almost two years ago to revision and reinvent PSR to better serve the needs of social justice and change in the world is coming into fruition in a variety of ways.  In September of last year, the first cohort of Changemaker Fellows began their study at PSR.  At the same time, the Center for Spiritual and Social Transformation was launched and its inaugural director was hired.  The Center has already hosted an inaugural event with Dr Cornel West, and the Changemaker Fellows just began an immersion trip to Columbia to learn firsthand what social justice work looks like in that country and context.  And these examples are just the beginnings of programs that PSR hopes to bring to the world of spiritually rooted social change.

How big was the candidate pool?
Our initial pool included 27 people.   We looked at 12 possibilities with deeper consideration.  Of those 12, six were invited to in-person interviews with the Search Committee.  Of those six, three were invited to campus for two days each to have a variety of meetings and conversations with students, staff, faculty, trustees, Alums and other community members. 

What kind of candidates applied?
Academicians and not for profit leaders from a wide variety of institutions and organizations either applied or were recommended to the Committee.  Demographically, there was a broad representation of ethnicities, backgrounds and breadth of experiences represented in the pool.

What is the new timeline? / When will we have a new president?
PSR’s goal is to have a new President in place by December of this year.  Obviously, if the best candidate was found and available before then, the timeline could be modified accommodate that. 

Was there a division within the community?
Actually, no.  Feedback from all constituencies on the two strongest candidates was consistent regarding their perceived strengths and potential areas of concern.  This feedback was gathered both in person and via anonymous survey, and indicated no divisions of thought or philosophy about the candidates or the process by which they were chosen.

Is this because of the recent turmoil at PSR?
Not at all.  In fact, the “turmoil,” is probably best understood as the tumult that often comes with recognizing the need for sustainable change within an institution and trying to create that positive change while honoring the traditions that still work and serve the community well.

Will this impact the operation of PSR’s programs next year?
To some degree it will, but from this vantage point that impact looks fairly positive.  Two new faculty members will be in place, as the searches for those open positions are nearing their conclusions.  Several other open positions, which were awaiting a new President’s input to be filled, will most likely now be filled before a new President begins.  Recruitment and admissions have been working with the programs already in place to encourage potential students who are excited about the idea and practice of spiritually rooted social change, to join an already vital community.  In short, the community is mindful of its needs and is working to meet them both in the interim and with the promise of a new President soon to be in place.