Principal search goes public

Advisory committee releases official search specifications

University Secretary Georgina Moore says the hiring of Queen’s next principal lies with the Board of Trustees.
Image by: Tyler Ball
University Secretary Georgina Moore says the hiring of Queen’s next principal lies with the Board of Trustees.

Queen’s is going public in its search for the next principal.   The joint Board/Senate Advisory Committee has released the official job description and specifications for the position.

The University has placed advertisements in the Globe and Mail, La Presse, the Chronicle of Higher Education, University Affairs and the Economist looking for applicants to fill the position.

“The ad is quite brief. It’s a short, snappy glimpse of Queen’s,” said University Secretary Georgina Moore. “In some cases, it’s going to be once, but in the Globe and Mail it will be three times starting Sept. 6.”

The decision came from both the joint Board/Senate Advisory Committee, composed of nine members from Senate and nine from the Board of Trustees, and Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search firm in Toronto hired by the university to augment the search for a new principal.

“The committee made the decision with information advised from the consultant. The Aug. 15 meeting decided where advertisements would be placed,” Moore said. “The search firm is actually responsible for placing the ads. The advertising started on the [Sep.] 6 and over the next couple of weeks it will appear in various publications.”

Moore said the process of searching for Queen’s next principal is the same as in previous years. Ad placements are no exception to this, she said.

“I think [ads] are one more tool. It’s important we have this committee as it is a spectrum of the Queen’s community. The search firm is important as it is an agent for the committee,” she said.

“The ads are part of that. It’s now the reminder out there that Queen’s is still looking.”

The publications were chosen for their broad circulation, Moore said.

“Our goal was to reach as far as possible in terms of national and international,” she said. “The idea is to get the word out as broadly as possible meanwhile using a search firm. One doesn’t rely on advertisements to search. We advertise within the time frame we have. The five in this time slot seemed to be the most effective.”

In Ontario, universities do not have to have a government approved appointment, Moore said.

“In July, there was quite a lot of attention on Memorial University. Allegedly, the government stepped in and did not accept two names put forward,” she said. “It is important to say at Queen’s there is no provincial step. Queen’s is its own authority.”

Moore said although the hiring of Queen’s next principal ultimately lies with the Board of Trustees, Russell Reynolds and the advisory committee are essential in ensuring a smooth process.

“The Board of Trustees makes the appointment, but the advisory committee is responsible for the recommendation,” she said. “The search firm will compile a list for the committee.” As of yet, there is no direct representation for the Kingston community on the committee, Moore said.

“The Kingston community is able to be involved if it wishes to comment. There is no direct representation on the committee,” she said. “Anyone on their own initiative can contact the committee. There is an input form available and the committee has been announced since June. We are looking for [a principal] who would be a good ambassador for the Kingston community. There is at least one trustee who is a member of the Kingston community.”

Moore said the appointment will hopefully be confirmed next summer.

“The goal is that we would be able to have the position filled by the summer. When it will happen around the summer, we can’t say.”

On Oct. 4, Russell Reynolds will update the joint Board/Senate Advisory Committee of its progress.

“There will be a report to the committee on where it’s at,” she said. “Essentially, the committee is reconvening on Oct. 4 to hear from the search firm. We’re still setting the agenda, but that’s the main item.”

Moore said she doesn’t know if there have been applicants for the position yet as an update will be given at the next meeting.

“People would consult Shawn Cooper, from Russell Reynolds Associates, directly. We’ll here from him on Oct. 4.”

The contract between Russell Reynolds Associates and Queen’s is private, so the cost of the service remains confidential, Moore said.

According to Sylvia MacArthur, President of Madison MacArthur Executive Search Specialists in Toronto, the cost of a search firm is approximately one third of the candidate’s first year’s remuneration.

This means that with a salary of $306,425 in 2007 for Principal Hitchcock, a search firm could make about $100,000 for providing their service, to Queen’s.

For the complete specifications, visit

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