Daily Bread for 11.23.21: Myopic Leading the Myopic in UW System Search

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 44.  Sunrise is 6:57 AM and sunset 4:25 PM for 9h 27m 12s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 85.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

 Whitewater’s Finance Committee meets at 4:30 PM.

 On this day in 1924, Edwin Hubble‘s discovery, that the Andromeda “nebula” is actually another island galaxy far outside our own Milky Way, is first published in the New York Times.

 Kelly Meyerhofer reports UW System hires presidential search firm involved in 2 problematic hires elsewhere:

After a search for the next University of Wisconsin System president collapsed last year because of complaints over how it was conducted, a UW official said the firm involved in the failed search would not be hired to assist in the System’s second attempt to hire a new leader.

The System is instead working with a different executive search firm that has been involved in at least two problematic searches of its own.

Recently released records show the System hired WittKieffer this summer at an estimated cost of about $225,000 plus expenses to help identify and recruit candidates in its presidential search, which is expected to ramp up over the next two months.

In one search, WittKieffer provided “inaccurate salary information” from a candidate’s previous jobs that led East Carolina University to hire a candidate for a higher salary than the individual might have been paid otherwise, according to a report in Business North Carolina. The candidate was hired in 2016 at an annual $450,000 salary even though he had earned less than $300,000 in his previous job.


More recently, the president of Oregon State University resigned earlier this year after only nine months on the job in the wake of his previous employer, Louisiana State University, releasing a report detailing the “mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations and Title IX procedures” while he served as LSU’s president. WittKieffer led the Oregon State search.

The firm did not respond to two voicemail messages left over the past week.

Regent Karen Walsh, who is leading the System’s presidential search committee, said WittKieffer was the Regents’ “number one choice” among companies considered for the job. Neither she nor Regents President Ed Manydeeds were aware of the firm’s involvement in the two problematic searches at the time they hired the company, she said.

It’s possible to start a search poorly and end well, of course, but it seems less likely than starting well.

Whitewater has its own experience with starting poorly (and ending disastrously), in the search that led to UW-Whitewater’s hiring of Beverly Kopper.  See The Dark, Futile Dream and Revisiting Kozloff’s ‘Dark, Futile Dream.’

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2 years ago

Just hire Tommy.

I don’t make this recommendation lightly. I suffered thru 4 terms of his governorship. He always come on as a doofus. A genial doofus, but one nonetheless. Then he ran HHS, where they kept him incommunicado for pretty much his whole term so he didn’t embarrass them.

I didn’t give Tommy enuf credit. He clearly learned some things from running both WI and the largest department in the Federal Government. He has done a great job of running the UW system thru very trying times. He proven to know how to run a university. Hire him full time.