WASHBURN UNIVERSITY OF TOPEKA
BOARD OF REGENTS
August 21-22, 1996
The Board of Regents convened at 6:15 p.m. in Club II Room of Topeka Country Club.
Present were: Mr. Dick, Mr. Felker, Mr. Ferrell, Mr. Maag, Mrs. Parks, Mrs. Porter, Dr.
Robinson, and Mr. Roth.
President Thompson turned the floor over to Dr. Jan Greenwood of Heidrick & Struggles.
Dr. Greenwood reviewed with members of the Board the results of the Board assessment
instrument sent to members of the Board and to the President and those reporting directly
to the President. She said she received 16 responses. Dr. Greenwood indicated that the
number of areas marked as needing improvement is a healthy sign that the Board wishes
to improve itself.
Then Dr. Greenwood moved to speaking of the role of the Board at a public college or
university, the need for distinguishing between policy and administration. It was noted
that the Board of Regents for Washburn University is a creature of statute. She indicated
that some governing boards are structured so that there is a committee of the whole and
four or five other committees such as academic affairs, student affairs, advancement,
building, financing, and a separate auditing committee. Occasionally there also is a
strategic planning body comprised of one or two trustees leading the others to advise the
institution on the issue. She also talked about the manner in which the Board of Regents
received things in terms of items originated for it for action.
Dr. Greenwood then reviewed the various materials/books for the group to review at their
leisure highlighting the book Governing Public Colleges and Universities by Richard T.
Ingram, calling it the Bible for public boards.
The meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m. to reconvene at 8:00 a.m. Thursday, August 22,
The Board of Regents convened at 8:05 a.m. on Thursday, August 22, 1996 in Club II at
the Topeka Country Club. Present were: Mr. Dick, Mr. Felker, Mr. Ferrell, Mr. Maag, Mrs.
Parks, Mrs. Porter and Mr. Roth.
The focus of the morning session was on the characteristics of the president. Dr.
Greenwood first shared some information about characteristics of presidents at
comprehensive public universities. Among the information shared was that approximately
74% of presidents at comprehensive public universities possess the Ph.D.; that the most
recent position for these presidents was as an academic affairs vice president at
approximately 36%; that 56% of presidents at comprehensive public universities possess
tenure; that the median age of presidents is 54 years; and the majority of college
presidents are between the ages of 41 and 60 years.
Dr. Greenwood distributed a draft position specification for the purpose of discussion.
There was a good deal of discussion identifying the three major areas in which a president
is required to work: leadership, managerial and resource development. She also circulated
a checklist for use by the search committee in winnowing down the prospects to a list for
off-site interviews. It was moved and seconded to specify that the doctoral degree be
preferred in the presidential characteristics and specifications. Motion passed
unanimously. Dr. Greenwood said she will take the draft checklist and presidential
specifications, and recast them both in the context of discussion of the board of regents at
this morning's meeting and lean towards brevity. She will send the new draft to the chair,
Jim Roth, who will solicit input from others on the Board. She also circulated a draft ad
for placement in Black Issues in Higher Education and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Following discussion, it was the consensus of the Board to, in addition to making the
change from terminal degree preferred to doctoral degree desirable, also include as
characteristics resource development experience and legislative activities. It was the
consensus of the Board that the nominations and applications should be sent to Mr. Ben
Blair, c/o Heidrick & Struggles. In response to a question from Dr. Greenwood, President
Thompson saiad it is his opinion that the next president will have to spend a majority of
his/her time in resource development activity, noting the likelihood of a capital campaign or
mini-campaign in the near future as well as working with the legislature.
Mr. Blair, chairperson of the presidential search committee, arrived at Noon.
In the afternoon the Board talked about the search process. In the context of talking
about the search process, Dr. Greenwood noted the article appearing in Educational Record
which included a statement on search committee code of ethics. She said it was
important, for purposes of attracting qualified candidates who prize confidentiality, for
there to be assurance that the search will be conducted in such a manner as to ensure
complete and ethical consideration of the candidates while preserving confidentiality. It
was moved and seconded to adopt the suggested code of ethics for all persons involved in
the presidential search process including the Board, search committee, faculty and staff.
Motion passed unanimously.
Dr. Greenwood then went over proposed schedules for conducting the search, for
conducting interviews off-site and for conducting on-site interviews. She also circulated a
description of the overall search process captioned "Summary Search Checklist." There
was some discussion about the role of the search committee after the finalists for on-site
interviews have been identified. It was the consensus of the Board of Regents that the
search committee remain involved in the process to serve as liaison, as it were, with the
various constituents of the University and to provide a sense of continuity for the
Mr. Blair and Mr. Maag will put together a proposed document identifying the search
process for approval by the Board chair.
It was moved and seconded to adjourn. The Board of Regents adjourned at 2:30 p.m.
Kenneth P. Hackler
Secretary, Board of Regents