West Virginia Universitys search for a new president took a significant step forward this week when advertisements were placed in three national higher education publicationsThe Chronicle of Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook in Education and Diverse Issues in Education, said chair of the search committee Stephen Goodwin.

The advertisements seek a leader who will provide positive momentum and astute stewardship to a dynamic, state flagship university rapidly growing in size, scope and prominence.

He or she will replace David C. Hardesty. Jr., who announced in August his plan to retire effective Sept. 20, 2007.

R. William Funk of Funk and Associates has been retained to guide the process, Goodwin said. The firm has been involved in many national university presidential searches and is highly regarded, he added.

Funk has helped recruit and place the current presidents of many of the countrys flagship and land-grant universities, including nearly a fourth of the sitting presidents of the nations top 60 research institutions and nine of the presidents of Big Ten systems or their flagship institutions.

The search for the president of a major university is extremely competitive,said Goodwin,and the expertise of a seasoned search executive like Funk will greatly assist the committee and the Board in identifying and recruiting the very best candidates.

In addition to meeting with the search committee, Funk has conducted focus groups with more than 100 individuals, including students, faulty, staff, administrators, alumni, and community and state leaders to gain insight about attributes and characteristics people want in the next president and to understand the challenges and opportunities this person will face in order to develop specific criteria for selecting candidates.

Finding the next president of WVU is a responsibility that is incredibly important to meas it is to every member of the search committee and Board of Governors.Goodwin said.We fully understand the significance of this search process and are pleased to have the official call for nominations under way.

We also know that the University has undergone tremendous change in the 11 years since David Hardesty became president,”Goodwin added.”So far in the search process, many people have stressed that positive evolution of the University. A common theme has been the need for a president who can help us to continue that trajectory to even greater national and global prominence.

Several search committee members and a BOG member echoed Goodwins sense of responsibility and commitment.

WVU Staff Council President Terry Nebel said both Funk and Goodwin have made it clear that all constituent groups will have opportunities to participate in some part of the search process.

In my opinion, the search committees diverse representation of WVU interests was readily apparent when the search committee met with Mr. Funk to discuss our participation in the process,Nebel said.The questions posed to Mr. Funk from the search committee covered the gamut of community, faculty, staff and student issues.

Vice President of WVU s Student Government Association Beth Belch added,I was very impressed that not only are there two students included on the search committee, but there was also a group of students who were selected and invited to meet our search consultant, Mr Funk, and express their opinions on what students want in a new university president. I am very excited to be involved in the presidential search and give student input on the process.

Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Dean Mary Ellen Mazey said,”We are very fortunate to be working with Bill Funk as our search firm consultant. He has completed more University presidential searches than any other search consultant in the country. I am confident that he, our search committee chair, Steve Goodwin, and our search committee members will work to ensure that all constituencies are represented through the next few months as a final selection is made for this very important position.”

WVU Board of Governors member Parry Petroplus said he believes abroad and diverse groupof people will make the right decision as to a new president.

While Im not on the search committee, I am a member of the WVU Board of Governors. And, I can honestly say there is not a board member that doesnt respect what David Hardesty has done and who doesnt want to continue that momentum into the future. There are no personal biases, and all of us want the University and the State to benefit from this important appointment.

Applications and nominations for the position should be submitted by mid January to receive optimal consideration, Goodwin said. They can be sent to: R. William (Bill) Funk, Consultant to the Board and Search Committee, 100 Highland Park Village, Suite 200, Dallas, Texas 75205 Email: krisha.creal@rwilliamfunk.com ; fax: 214/295-3312

Information on the search will also soon be posted online athttp://www.wvu.edu; just click on thepresidential searchicon.

Goodwin can be contacted by email at: presidentsearch@mail.wvu.edu

The committee plans to screen applications in early February and develop a list of candidates to interview and bring to campus for visits by early spring.

The WVU Board of Governors will make the final selection.