Presidential Search Committee Seeks Input from Bates Community

Aneeza Ahmad, Assistant News Editor

The Presidential Search Committee is seeking student, faculty and staff input through seven “listening sessions” and a community survey, according to an email sent to the college community from the committee co-chairs on Sept. 13.

The sessions and survey are a chance for the Bates community to share their perspectives in the search for the college’s ninth president. The search is happening during a time when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still felt on campus, the unionization efforts of Bates faculty and staff remain unresolved and large-scale projects, such as the Chase Hall renovations, continue on. The new president will assume responsibility for all of these issues and more when they replace President Clayton Spencer, who has served at Bates for 11 years.

Presidential Search Committee Co-chairs, Andrea Conklin Bueschel ’90 and Gregory Ehret ’91 reached out to the Bates community, stating that “each member of this community has a unique perspective on the college’s strengths, opportunities for improvement, and what Bates most needs in its next president.” The email emphasized the line, “and we want to hear from you.”

The search committee is holding seven total listening sessions. The first was on Sept. 19, and the last will be on Sept. 30. 

There are two sessions for students, two for faculty, two for staff and one final session open to all three groups. Some sessions will occur on Zoom and others in person. Dates and locations for sessions can be found here.

More than 140 community members have participated in or signed up for upcoming listening sessions,” Media Relations Specialist for the Bates Communications Office Mary Pols said.

Bates community members can also submit input through a community survey. The survey asks five specific questions and leaves space for additional comments. The deadline for the survey is Sept. 30. 

The community input will help the committee create a position profile which will be shared with candidates. The input will also help guide how the committee will approach its work, according to the committee’s email.

“For obvious reasons, I am not part of that process,” President Clayton Spencer wrote in an email on Sept. 20 addressed to the Bates community about her thoughts on the year ahead, “but I encourage all of you to take advantage of the opportunities the search will provide to participate in shaping a vision for the next chapter at Bates.”

The formation of the search committee is still in its early stages.

“The search committee has not yet been finalized but that should happen fairly soon, likely by the end of the month,” Pols said. “Once the committee is set there will be an announcement to the community.”

According to Pols, after the committee is completed, there will be a hub of information on the Bates website sharing biographies and headshots of all search committee members. 

The search committee has partnered with Isaacson Miller, a “national executive search firm specializing in recruiting transformative leadership for mission-driven organizations,” according to the firm’s Linkedin. 

The Student will provide ongoing coverage of the presidential search over the course of the year.