Presidential Search

Search Consultants

Southwestern has hired a search consulting team including Tom Courtice, of TBC Search Consulting, LLC, and of Susan Resneck Pierce, of SRP Consulting, LLC, to collaborate in consulting with the presidential search advisory committee and, ultimately, the board of trustees in identifying our next president. Both Dr. Courtice and Dr. Pierce are highly regarded college and university consultants, both have been faculty members at and presidents of national liberal arts colleges, both know Southwestern well, and both care deeply about our institution.

Dr. Courtice will take the lead in conducting the actual search, assisting the search advisory committee in setting goals and establishing processes, coordinating the entire search process, recruiting and cultivating candidates, coordinating external advertising, conducting due diligence on candidates, and advising the search advisory committee regarding semifinal and final candidate interview schedules. Dr. Pierce’s primary role will involve the preparation of a search profile and job description to inform candidates of the specific opportunities and duties of the presidential position and of the desired attributes of the candidate of choice. Dr. Pierce will share a draft of the profile and job description with Southwestern’s presidential search advisory committee to ensure accuracy and to gain the committee’s insights about how most effectively to highlight the University’s many strengths and opportunities as well as its challenges. Both Dr. Courtice and Dr. Pierce plan to be on campus in mid-October to attend the organizational meeting of the presidential search advisory committee and to hold listening sessions with all campus constituencies, including both open forums and meetings with small groups.

As the president of TBC Consulting, LLC , Dr. Thomas Courtice has completed fourteen years of successful search consultancy, having provided experienced counsel to colleges and universities in need of top level administrative leadership including presidents, chancellors, and vice presidents. Since launching his search practice in 2005, he has personally completed over 135 searches with an emphasis on senior leadership for independent colleges and universities. Just under 88 percent of the candidates recruited and placed with his help in the last decade are still in office and nearly 40 percent are women or persons of color. This record speaks clearly to the quality of the outcomes that he has fostered with individual campus clients in a shared goal of finding the right leader at the right time.

Until 2010, Dr. Courtice was associated with Academic Search, Inc. and served as that firm’s president from 2008-2010. In the subsequent five years, he served as Associate Managing Principal and then Managing Principal at AGB Search, an affiliate of the Association of Governing Boards. In December (2015), he retired from AGB Search in order to gain flexibility as an independent consultant, focusing his service on institutions for which he has a special affinity and to which he can devote uncompromised attention.

As a reflection of his experience as president of three independent colleges, he has developed a reputation nationally for successfully identifying topflight leadership at a time of considerable change and challenge in higher education. His presidencies at Ohio Wesleyan University (1994-2004), West Virginia Wesleyan College (1986-1994), and Westbrook College (ME) (1977-1986), and his early work as a faculty member and administrator at Hamline University (MN) (1967-1977) have provided an uncommon basis for understanding the qualities necessary for future leadership in the academy.

His further engagement in higher education includes service on the Boards of Trustees at Ripon College (WI) and Hilbert College (NY), the Advisory Board of the Appalachian College Association, the NCAA Executive Committee, and several educational associations. He has also been an invited speaker and presenter at meetings of several national associations, having participated in AGB’s National Conference on Trusteeship, CIC’s Presidents Institute, and ACE’s Advancing to the Presidency Seminar.

Tom Courtice received a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.B.A. in Organizational Behavior from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in American Studies and Education from the University of Minnesota, and he has been the recipient of several honorary degrees.

Ms. Joan Bowman assists Dr. Courtice as his Research Associate. Joan is a detailed and supportive professional with over 20 years of experience in project management, data management, bookkeeping, event planning, and technology coaching. She earned her B.A. From Ohio University and her M.S. from The Ohio State University.

Ms. Ann Dodson serves as Technology Assistant and assures that all electronic elements of the search, including the website postings of all search candidates, are handled with precision. Ann has 40 years of experience developing customer management systems and technology platforms. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University.

Susan Resneck Pierce is President of SRP CONSULTING, LLC and President Emerita of the University of Puget Sound where she served from 1992-2003. Under her leadership, Puget Sound entered the ranks of the national liberal arts colleges. The endowment grew from $68 million to $213 million; the college completed $85 million of new construction and major renovations; SAT scores increased from 1067 to 1253; applications for 650 freshmen places grew to 4400 annually. To honor her work at Puget Sound, donors endowed both a chair in humanities and honors and a lecture series in public affairs and the arts in her name. In addition, thanks also to a major donor, the atrium of Puget Sound’s new humanities building now carries her name.

Susan Pierce also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lewis & Clark College, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tulsa, Assistant Director of Education Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities, Chair of the Ithaca College English Department, Visiting Associate Professor at Princeton and President of the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation and Vice President for the hospital.

Today, as President of SRP CONSULTING, Susan Pierce advises public and private colleges, universities and other non-profit organizations on such matters as an effective board and presidential performance, governance, board development, and strategic planning. She coaches presidents, advises board chairs and facilitates focused retreats for boards, president’s cabinets and faculty.

Dr. Pierce writes and speaks extensively about higher education. Jossey-Bass published and Inside Higher Ed sponsored her two recent books: Governance Reconsidered: How Boards, Presidents, Administrators, and Faculty Can Help Their Colleges Thrive (2014) and On Being Presidential: A Guide for College and University Leaders, (2012). She is also the author of The Moral of the Story: Literature, Values and American Higher Education (Columbia University’s Teacher’s College Press, 1982) and numerous essays about American literature, and she is co-editor of a book on Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (The Modern Language Association, 1989). Boards of Trustees often use her books and essays.

Susan Pierce served in leadership roles in many higher education organizations (e.g. the Association of Governing Boards Council of Presidents and the Annapolis Group Executive Committee). She has been active in many civic, cultural and professional organizations.

She now lives in Boca Raton, FL where she served as a founding board member of the Festival of the Arts Boca and creator of its Authors and Ideas program. She currently serves on the Board of the Boca Museum of Art where she is a member of the Executive Committee and chairs the Education/Art School committee.

Dr. Pierce received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College, her M.A. degree in English from the University of Chicago, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  lists many of her recent clients, posts testimonials from a number of them and provides a more detailed list of her publications and presentations.

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