Capital University Presidential Search | Capital University, Columbus Ohio
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Presidential Search

  • It is our pleasure to announce that David L. Kaufman, immediate past CEO of Encova Insurance (formerly Motorists Insurance Group), has accepted the position of interim president of Capital University.

    Dave is a well-respected business leader in the Central Ohio region and beyond, with a strong track record of building fiscal sustainability, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement. He has proven experience in propelling organizations forward. As CEO of Encova Insurance, Dave led the integration of 16 companies, built consensus among a diverse set of teams, and nearly doubled company revenue.

    As you know, we were hoping to be able to announce a permanent president at this time. While we had a number of highly qualified candidates, we decided to suspend the search process due to COVID-19 restrictions that didn’t allow us to conduct the in-person, on-campus interviews that we ultimately determined were essential to allow the Capital community to get to know the candidates and for the candidates to get to know the University. 

    Because of this, we thought it was in the University’s best interest to appoint an interim president.

    Knowing that all universities are facing unprecedented operational and funding decisions due to the pandemic, we felt that engaging an outside perspective – and one with a significant track record of executive leadership and strong ties to our community – was a wise choice.

    We were drawn to Dave Kaufman because of his business acumen and widespread respect from Central Ohio community leaders, coupled with his appreciation for Capital’s role as a leader in higher education. Specifically, he has demonstrated essential leadership qualities identified by the Board for the interim presidency, including:  

    • Extensive leadership experience at the most senior level,
    • Proven ability to build teams,
    • Track record of successfully coaching others,
    • Ability to openly engage stakeholders,
    • Strong experience in change management,
    • Strong communication skills, and
    • Proven ability to quickly assimilate disparate information to make difficult decisions in a manner consistent with stated values.

    We are fortunate to have someone with Dave’s experience and administrative expertise to complement our academic strengths and keep the University moving forward during these unprecedented times.

    We expect Dave’s role as interim president to continue for the next year or two, or until the University has stabilized. This will help ensure that the 17th president of Capital University is poised to inherit a University in good standing, and it will allow our stakeholders the opportunity to vet candidates in a method that is more traditional and meaningful.

    Dave’s bio can be found at www.capital.edu/meet-president-kaufman. Watch for Zoom meeting information to be emailed shortly that will allow you to take part in town hall meetings that have been scheduled over the next two days. If you aren’t able to make one of these town hall meetings, there will be additional opportunities in the coming weeks. We think you will find Dave to be engaging, sincere, dedicated and a thoughtful listener.

    • Faculty Town Hall Meeting with David Kaufman – Tuesday, June 2, 2-3 p.m.
    • Staff and Administrators Town Hall Meeting with David Kaufman – Tuesday, June 2, 4-5 p.m.
    • Student Town Hall Meeting with David Kaufman – Wednesday, June 3, 1-2 p.m.

    We thank the University community – students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends – for its participation in the search process, and its patience and understanding. We are especially grateful to the search committee members for their thoughtful, collaborative and candid participation throughout these last several months.

    On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we recognize the friction that caused division among faculty, administration and Trustees over fiscal, governance sharing and other issues; however, at the heart of this is Capital University, an institution that everyone involved loves and respects.

    We all want the best for Capital, and we believe that under Dave’s leadership as interim president, we will be able to collaboratively and successfully move the University forward.


    Past Updates

    May 18, 2020

    TO:  Campus Community
    FROM:  Bernie Ostrowski & Andre Porter
    Re:  Update on the Presidential Search

    On behalf of the Capital University Board of Trustees, we want to thank our students, faculty and staff for their flexibility and resilience in how they rapidly responded to so many changes during the spring 2020 semester and made the most of a Capital University education in difficult times.

    The Board continues to work with the Capital Family to ensure the University’s success in the coming year and beyond. With that in mind, we want to update you on the presidential search.

    In December 2019, the University officially launched the search for its next president. The process was led by a search committee with representatives from all areas of the University.  The search was inclusive and comprehensive and yielded a number of highly qualified candidates.

    The search committee brought forward two leading candidates for final interview by the University community. Due to COVID-19, interviews were conducted remotely via Zoom and feedback was provided through participant surveys. We thank all of you who participated in the interview and evaluation processes.

    After extensive discussion and debate, informed by the presidential search committee and with input from the entire Capital community, the Board has decided to suspend the presidential search and appoint an interim president who will come from outside of Capital to lead the University for the next two years.  

    While our final candidates had many appealing qualities and impressive experience to bring to this role, they were hampered by the inability to conduct in-person, on-campus interviews that would allow the Capital community to interact with them and for them to get to know the University.  Ultimately, the Board determined that this missing firsthand interaction and engagement was essential for assessing “fit” and developing confidence in the candidate’s leadership abilities, which led to the decision to suspend the search.

    While we are disappointed that the presidential search is being suspended, we are confident in this decision and our ability to name a strong interim president to guide us forward.  The search process has helped the Board better understand the needs of the University in this interim period, the difficult work that we face in the coming months, and the opportunity for an interim leader to better prepare the University for the new president, when that time comes.

    With this in mind, the Board has identified essential qualities it desires for Capital’s interim president. We have evaluated several appropriate candidates and hope to announce a new leader before the end of the month. 

    The Board remains committed to the long-term success of the University. We believe that an interim president will play a vital role in moving the University forward. We thank you for your continued commitment to Capital University.


    May 1, 2020

    To:  Capital University Family
    From:  Search Committee Co-Chairs:  Andre Porter and Marti Taylor
    Re:  Presidential Search Update

    On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we want to thank everyone who has participated in the presidential search process – from the initial input and listening sessions, to providing input on the prospectus and nominating candidates, and, finally, to those who took the time over the past two weeks to meet our final presidential candidates and provide thoughtful feedback to the search committee and the Board.  We have valued this open search process as an opportunity for University stakeholders to meet and evaluate each of the candidates and for the candidates to get to know Capital.

    The Board is currently in the process of reviewing and discussing the input that we received from all of the stakeholder groups – faculty, staff, students, alumni and community representatives – who engaged in the interview process. In the coming weeks, per our original timeline, the Board will bring the search to a conclusion and share the outcome with the University community.   

    Please know that we understand the importance of this strategic decision for the University, especially given the challenging work and uncertain times that lie ahead.  We appreciate your patience as we complete this process in a manner that maintains the integrity of the search committee, the candidates, and the process itself.

    Finally, we would like to thank the members of the search committee who have work diligently over the past six months to identify and evaluate the many qualified candidates who were considered for the presidency.  We have appreciated your thoughtful engagement, dedication to the process and commitment to the University and its future.

    We look forward to updating you again soon.

    Andre Porter and Marti Taylor


    April 15, 2020

    TO: Members of the Capital University Community
    FROM: Andre Porter and Marti Taylor, Co-Chairs Presidential Search Committee
    SUBJECT: University Visits and Open Forums

    On Tuesday, April 21, and Monday, April 27, finalists for the position of president will visit Capital, through virtual technology, to meet with a variety of University constituents.  As part of this process, forums for meeting the candidates will be held that are open to all faculty, staff, and students.

    The candidates’ CVs will be posted on a Google Drive 24 hours prior to the visits and removed immediately after the interviews, with access limited to University constituents.  When the CVs are available, you will receive an email with a link to the Google Drive. We ask that everyone respect the confidentiality of the CVs and not copy or distribute these documents, which are provided for internal use only.

    Throughout the search process, the committee has pledged to protect the identity of the candidates. We ask that you respect that we will not openly publicize their visits beyond our University community, and we ask you not to discuss the candidates with anyone outside of the University at this time.

    To manage the virtual forums, you will receive a separate Zoom invitation for your group (faculty, staff or students) for each candidate. To limit the possibility of disruptions or “Zoom-bombing,” you will be required to log into the Zoom sessions with your Capital log in.  Again, we ask that you not share information about the candidates beyond the Capital University community.

    These forums are scheduled on April 21 and April 27 at the following times (includes two opportunities for faculty participation):

    Time Group
    8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Faculty
    9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Students
    11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Vice Presidents (direct reports)
    1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Administrators and Staff
    2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Alumni and Community
    4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Faculty
    5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Presidential Search Committee

    We encourage you to participate in the selection process and attend a forum for each candidate. You can also submit questions in advance (up to 24 hours before each visit day) at cappressearch@capital.edu and ask questions during each session via Zoom Chat to a session moderator. Each session will have a moderator from the presidential search committee to direct questions to the candidates.

    Additionally you are invited to provide your impressions of each candidate immediately after each of their visits via an electronic survey that will be posted on Capital’s presidential search site (https://www.capital.edu/about-capital/leadership/presidential-search/). Please submit your feedback by 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22, for the first candidate and 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28, for the second candidate. The surveys will be closed at those times.


    March 19, 2020

    To: Cap Fam

    From: Andre Porter ’02, Presidential Search Co-Chair, Vice Chair, Capital University Board of Trustees
    Marti Taylor ’86, Presidential Search Co-Chair, Member, Capital University Board of Trustees

    Date: March 18, 2020

    Re: Presidential Candidates - First-Round Interviews

    We hope all of you remain healthy and safe. Due to the ongoing and rapidly evolving situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we have decided to proceed with first-round interviews as scheduled, but the committee will conduct them via videoconference.

    These are unprecedented times and our primary consideration and concern is the health and safety of all of you and our candidates. We hope that by using technology for this next stage we can adhere to the search timeline while also practicing social distancing. We will continue to evaluate the later stages of the search process as the situation evolves and communicate as the search unfolds.

    Thank you again for your flexibility during this challenging time.

    Sincerely,
    Andre and Marti


    February 26, 2020

    Dear Cap Fam,

    We are excited to write with an update on the presidential search process.

    Over the past several weeks, our search firm, WittKieffer, has been engaged in targeted outreach to thousands of potential candidates and sources. We are pleased to report that a number of highly qualified candidates have expressed interest in the opportunity to lead Capital University.

    In mid-March, our search committee will come together to review the candidate applications and select a small group for first-round interviews. We have identified April 20, 21 and 22 as the dates when finalists will be visiting our campus. You will be invited to participate in open forums and other group meetings.

    Thank you to those of you who have submitted nominations. We encourage you to continue to send confidential nominations to cappressearch@capital.edu. Please submit nominations by Friday, February 28. All nominees will be notified immediately and encouraged to apply. Should you wish to submit a nomination, you will remain anonymous.

    Thanks in advance for your energy and enthusiasm. We look forward to updating you again soon.

    Sincerely,

    Andre Porter ’02, Presidential Search Co-Chair
    Vice Chair, Capital University Board of Trustees

    Marti Taylor ’86, Presidential Search Co-Chair
    Member, Capital University Board of Trustees


    January 24, 2020

    Dear Cap Fam,

    We are excited to write with an update on the presidential search process.

    After completing the leadership profile with significant Capital Family/Community input, our search publically launched with a comprehensive advertisement campaign on December 20 followed by our search firm, WittKieffer, conducting targeted outreach to thousands of potential candidates and sources. We are pleased to report that in just a few short weeks we already have a number of highly qualified candidates whom have expressed interest in the opportunity to lead Capital University.

    In mid-March, our search committee will come together to review the candidate applications and select a small group for first round interviews. We encourage you to continue to send confidential nominations to cappressearch@capital.edu. All nominees will be notified immediately and encouraged to apply. Should you wish to submit a nomination, you will remain anonymous.

    We also want to thank those of you who took the time to submit a feedback survey. We have received 55 responses. If you have not done so, we encourage you to complete a survey. Your thoughts and feedback are invaluable to the search committee.

    Thank you in advance for your energy and enthusiasm. We look forward to updating you again soon.

    Sincerely,

    Andre Porter ’02, Presidential Search Co-Chair
    Vice Chair, Capital University Board of Trustees

    Marti Taylor ’86, Presidential Search Co-Chair
    Member, Capital University Board of Trustees


    December 4, 2019

    As you know, our presidential search kicked off with a meeting of the presidential search committee and multiple open forums/ listening sessions. Our commitment to delivering a high-quality, ambitious and diverse slate of candidates is paramount and we deeply appreciated thoughts and valuable perspectives of those of you who participated. We are embarking on a process that not only honors our values as a Cap Family but also positions Capital University for the best possible recruitment outcome. To that end, we want to summarize the approach the search committee and the Board of Trustees outlined for the process:

    • Presidential candidates will remain completely confidential throughout the recruitment process, including during first-round interviews. To ensure candidates are thoroughly vetted, they will also participate in a second round of confidential interviews with the search committee. All search committee members will be signing a “code of ethics” which ensures the absolute confidentiality of all nominees, prospects and candidates.
    • After the first two rounds of interviews, we will use an open approach for third-round finalist interviews, including open campus visits. Finalist candidates will be invited to make public appearances on campus to directly address all stakeholder groups.

    Thank you again for your commitment to the university and its bright future. We wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season.

    Andre Porter ’02, Presidential Search Co-Chair; Vice Chair, Capital University Board of Trustees
    Marti Taylor ’86, Presidential Search Co-Chair; Member, Capital University Board of Trustees


  • Timeline

    SEARCH PREPARATION

    November: Engagement Meetings
    WittKieffer consultants speak with key stakeholders to gather input for the leadership profile. Consultants meet with the search committee to review the search process and collect information for the leadership profile.

    December: Leadership Profile Development
    WittKieffer drafts leadership profile, search timeline, and recruitment strategy. Search Committee reviews and approves profile, timeline, and strategy.


    RECRUITMENT AND CANDIDATE EVALUATION

    December-February: Advertising, Recruitment, Screening
    WittKieffer screens, recruits, and conducts initial interviews with prospective candidates. WittKieffer updates the search committee on the nature of the developing pool of applications and market feedback.

    March: Search Committee Review of Candidate Materials
    Search Committee reviews candidate materials and selects small group of candidates for first round interviews. WittKieffer verifies credentials and educational background of candidates of interest.


    INTERVIEWING

    Early April: First Round Candidate Interviews
    Search Committee conducts in-person first round interviews of preliminary candidates using a structured interview guide. Committee identifies two to four finalists for second-round interviews.

    April
    Finalists invited for second-round interviews and open campus visit with public appearances to address all stakeholder groups. WittKieffer checks references and conducts assessments of finalists.

    Finalists invited for open campus visit (third-round) with public appearances to address all stakeholder groups.


    FINAL STAGES

    Early May: Recommendation, Offer and Negotiation
    Search Committee provides the Board of Trustees with feedback on finalists. The Board of Trustees selects the candidate of choice. Hiring authority makes an offer to the preferred candidate. Terms of the agreement are reached.

    May/June: Announcement
    Capital University will announce its next president.


  • Search Committee

    The following individuals, representing Capital’s students, alumni, donors, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees and community, have agreed to serve on the search committee:

    • Andre Porter, ’02 Co-Chair
    • Marti Taylor ’86, Co-Chair
    • Bernie Ostrowski, Chair, Board of Trustees
    • Jean Kohler ’70, Trustee, Incoming Chair of the Organizational Sustainability Committee
    • Belinda Jones ’86, L’94, Trustee
    • Steve Wachtman ’85, S’92, Trustee
    • Tyler Schleich ’04, M’05, Trustee, Past President Capital University Alumni Advisory Board
    • Paul Chodak, Trustee
    • Andrew Carlson, Professor & Chair, Department of History
    • Jennifer Hodge, Professor & Director of Clinical Partnerships, Department of Education
    • Garien Hudson, Director of Admission
    • Mindy Hamel, Administrative Assistant, Communications
    • Samantha Montanez ’20, Student Government President 2019-20
    • Kathryn “Kit” Kleinhans, Dean, Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University
    • Rachel Janutis, Dean, Capital University Law School
    • Nona McGuire, Executive Assistant to the President & Liaison to the Board of Trustees (Ex-officio)