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Board of Trustees Policy for the Selection of Presidents

Responsibility for Appointment of Presidents

The Board of Trustees of the California State University, in partnership with the Chancellor, is responsible for the recruitment, selection and appointment of CSU campus presidents. There is a deep commitment throughout the process to the principles of consultation with campus and community representatives and diversity. The ultimate decision and responsibility for the transition of executive leadership rests with the Board. The Chancellor designates staff to support the process.

The Trustees Committee for the Selection of the President

The Chair of the Board appoints a Trustees Committee for the Selection of the President (TCSP) for any campus with an impending vacancy. The TCSP is composed of the Chair of the Board, four Trustees, and the Chancellor. The Chair designates a Trustee as chair of the TCSP.

The TCSP determines the attributes desired for a successful candidate, approves the final campus and job descriptions, and any advertising copy, and reviews and interviews candidates. Although the TCSP is the ultimate body to make the final decisions, including the advancement of candidates to the full Board, the process is to be conducted in a manner that includes the campus representatives. The Chancellor may indicate his or her ranking of final candidates before the Board. The Board Chair and the Chancellor may use executive search firms to assist on specific tasks related to the selection process. The Chancellor is responsible for background and reference checks of the final candidates advanced to the Board.

The Advisory Committee to the Trustees Committee for the Selection of the President

The Chair of the Board also appoints an advisory group to the TCSP, known as the Advisory Committee to the Trustees Committee for the Selection of the President (ACTCSP). The ACTCSP is composed of the Chair of the Academic Senate on the campus, two faculty representatives selected by the campus faculty, one member of the campus support staff selected by the staff, one student selected by the duly constituted representatives of the campus student body, one member of the campus Advisory Board selected by that board, one alumnus/alumna of the campus selected by the campus Alumni Association, and one Vice President or academic Dean from the campus, and the President of another CSU campus selected by the Chancellor. Each of the campus representatives shall be determined according to procedures established by the campus. If the campus has a standing policy on campus representation to the ACTCSP that does not call for open election by each constituency, that policy shall be reviewed at the start of a new presidential search, and ratified or amended. The Chair of the Board or the Chancellor may appoint up to two additional members from constituent groups to the ACTCSP to strengthen its capacity to cope with the complex requirements of a specific search, including diversity of the campus, the service area or the state.

The ACTCSP provides advice and consultation regarding the position and campus descriptions and any advertisement of the position. Members of the ACTCSP may also suggest potential candidates with the leadership qualities, administrative ability, academic qualities and other talents appropriate to the position. The ACTCSP reviews and comments on all candidate applications, participates in candidate interviews and the deliberations that lead to the selection of the final candidate(s). The consultative procedures are to be conducted in a manner designed to generate confidence in the selection process and garner local support for the eventual appointee.

Confidentiality and Professionalism

To ensure that the search process respects the professional needs of candidates and is conducted with integrity, strict confidentiality must be maintained by members of the TCSP and the ACTCSP, the Chancellor and staff. Only the Chair of the TCSP or the Chancellor will act as spokesperson for the committees during the presidential search process. After providing a notice of violation and an opportunity for a meeting, the Chair may dismiss a member of the TCSP or the ACTCSP if confidentiality is determined by the Chair to have been violated, or if the behavior of a member is determined by the Chair to have been unethical, unprofessional, disruptive to the conduct of business, or if a member is determined by the Chair to have ignored or failed to follow these rules and procedures.

The Presidential Selection Process

The TCSP meets initially, together with the ACTCSP, to discuss the needs of the campus, and the desired attributes of the new President. The committees also receive information from the campus and the community on these subjects. After these initial sessions, advertising copy is developed, candidates are invited to submit applications, and a broad pool is developed. The Chancellor and the Chair of the TCSP confer and evaluate whether any additional internal CSU candidate(s) is/are a good fit for the position to be added to the pool and considered for the position. The TCSP and the ACTCSP then meet again, review all candidates and decide whether to interview internal candidates, internal and external candidates, or external candidates. After consultation with the TCSP and the ACTCSP, the Chancellor and the Chair of the TCSP determine whether to schedule campus visits, which are optional, or to schedule campus visits on a modified basis, depending on the circumstances of the search.

Deviations from These Procedures

The Board of Trustees will normally confine itself to the names presented by the TCSP. In rare instances and for compelling reasons, the Board reserves the right if, in its judgment, circumstances warrant to depart from the recommended candidate(s) or from the procedures outlined in this policy.

Adopted September 20-21, 2011
CSU Board of Trustees


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Last Updated: September 30, 2011