Culver-Stockton committee to begin screening applicants for president

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Oct. 17, 2019 12:01 am

CANTON, Mo. -- A search committee this month will begin reviewing applications from candidates interested in becoming the next president of Culver-Stockton College.

The committee plans to conduct interviews with the most promising candidates in November before paring down the list of finalists to two, three or four, who will be brought to the C-SC campus in January to meet with students, faculty and staff.

The committee will then present a preferred candidate to the Board of Trustees in February for a hiring decision.

"It's our responsibility to make a recommendation to the board, but it's the board's final decision on who gets hired," explained Ron Leftwich, who serves a dual role as chairman of the presidential search committee and chairman of the Board of Trustees.

The person hired as president will begin work July 1, 2020, and will replace Kelly Thompson, who announced plans to retire when her contract expires June 30.

Thompson has been Culver-Stockton's president for the past six years. She is the 26th president in Culver-Stockton's 166-year history and the first woman in that role.

The next president will preside over a private institution -- affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) -- that serves approximately 1,100 students from 38 states and territories and 20 countries.

Finding the right person for the job is a big responsibility for the search committee and the Board of Trustees, Leftwich said.

"It always is," he said. "That's why we want to find a good president. We want to keep them a while."

Leftwich said C-SC has hired a search firm -- Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, LP -- to help with the recruitment of prospective candidates for the president's position. The company recently started advertising the job opening nationally, and applications are already being submitted.

"From what they've told me, they're getting really good interest in the college," Leftwich said.

Although applications will be accepted until a new president is selected, serious applicants are urged to submit their materials by Nov. 1 to ensure "fullest consideration," the job posting says.

Leftwich said the search committee -- made up of trustees, faculty members, staff members, a student and a representative from the Canton community -- plans to start reviewing applications this month. Then off-campus interviews will be scheduled in November with some of the best prospects before the field is pared down to several finalists.

"It's similar to what we did when we found President Thompson," said Leftwich, a 1964 C-SC graduate now living in Houston.

Leftwich said committee members earlier this fall developed a list of characteristics they would like to see in the next president. Those characteristics were reflected in the wording of the job description that's now being circulated nationally.

Leftwich said an important part of the search process will involve on-campus visits in January by the finalists. He said the visits not only will give students, faculty, staff and community members "a good feel for the candidates," but it will also give the candidates a chance to decide if they would be a good fit for C-SC, Canton and the tri-state area.

"That's extremely important as well," Leftwich said.

Leftwich said naming a new president in February will allow time for some transitioning to take place between the new and old administrations.

"But the college is still President Thompson's until June 30," he said. "She still has a lot of things she wants to accomplish, and we're working with her to do that."