Process creates criteria for choosing next WSU president

PULLMAN, WASH. — Washington State University’s next president should advance WSU’s position as a driver of the state’s economy, sustain efforts to increase access to higher education, and secure the financial resources required to fulfill the university’s aspirations.

Those are among the key opportunities and challenges awaiting WSU’s next leader. They were identified as priorities by university stakeholders at the 26 public listening sessions this fall or via the university’s presidential search website.

The opportunities and challenges are part of a presidential position profile the executive search firm Isaacson Miller, retained by WSU to assist the search, will use to recruit potential candidates. The search firm will identify a broad pool of well-qualified individuals during the next few months for the Presidential Search Advisory Committee to evaluate and consider for recommendation to the Board of Regents.

“We’ve received outstanding feedback from the University community that played a critical role in establishing the criteria to guide the screening and selection of our candidates,” said Mike Worthy, chair of the search advisory committee and a member of the WSU Board of Regents. “The Cougar Nation has spoken—thoughtfully and eloquently. We’re very grateful for that input.”

The presidential position profile identifies eight important opportunities and challenges WSU’s 11th chief executive will be called upon to address:

  • Advancing WSU’s position as Washington state’s university and an engine of

the state’s economy

  • Accelerating WSU’s trajectory toward national prominence as a leader in

helping solve the world’s problems and creating a promising future

  • Sustaining efforts to increase access to higher education in the state, and

ensuring the academic success and personal growth of WSU students

  • Integrating the talents and energies of the Greek system more fully into the

life of the university

  • Transforming WSU into a system of campuses working together seamlessly

to accomplish the university’s objectives

  • Inspiring, leading, and instilling “Cougar Pride” across the university, the

state of Washington, and throughout the world

  • Developing the financial resources to fulfill WSU’s aspirations
  • Leading and managing a complex and dynamic organization


Details about the opportunities and challenges, as well as the complete presidential profile, are online at

The regents expect to name a president by the end of spring semester 2016.

The search was initiated in July following the death of President Elson S. Floyd on June 20 due to complications from colon cancer. Dan Bernardo, formerly the university’s provost and executive vice president, is serving as interim president while the search is being conducted.


Robert Strenge, WSU News, 509-335-3583