Who will select the next President? Who makes the final decision?

Under the USC Bylaws, the Board of Trustees is responsible for hiring the president of the university. The Presidential Search Advisory Committee, composed of trustees and USC faculty, will lead the global search process that includes recruiting, screening, and conducting interviews with prospective candidates before making a recommendation to the Board of Trustees.

How was the membership of the 23-member search advisory committee determined?

The Board of Trustees established the Committee to be comprised of thirteen trustees representing the chairs of the eleven standing subcommittees of the Board and two trustees representing the USC Health System Board. The Committee then selected eight faculty representatives and one dean based on recommendations from the USC Academic Senate and other campus leaders. Finally, Interim President Dr. Wanda Austin is an ex officio member of the Committee. The complete list of committee members is available here.

What are the opportunities for input or nominations from the USC community?

The perspectives of students, staff, alumni, parents, and community members are essential, and broad input is needed for this to be a successful search. All USC stakeholders are invited to provide input that will be reviewed and factored into the process by the committee and search firms.

The presidential search website includes an online survey and nomination form for individuals to contribute their vision for USC and its next president. In addition, two open forums will be held at the University Park Campus and at the Health Sciences Campus. All input and nominations will be carefully reviewed and considered by the committee and the search firms as the committee develops the “candidate profile” that will help guide the search.

Will the candidate profile be posted to the website so that the USC community knows what type of candidates the search advisory committee is seeking?

Yes. Following input from the USC community, the search advisory committee finalized the candidate profile and it is now posted to this website.

Will the USC community be able to meet or interview prospective candidates or finalists?

After receiving community input and nominations, the committee will proceed with a “closed” search process. This means that the candidates’ identities will remain confidential with the committee throughout the search. As a result, there will not be an opportunity to meet or interview prospective candidates.

Why is USC running a “confidential” search for our next president?

We seek to identify and interview the very best, world-class candidates to lead USC forward. These are typically individuals who currently hold high-profile positions at successful institutions. To attract this type of candidate, the application process must protect their confidentiality throughout the search process.

How are prospective candidates identified?

Prospective candidates emerge in a number of ways:

  • Nominations. If you are interested in nominating a potential candidate, please submit their name to uscpresident@imsearch.com or via the USC candidate page at the Isaacson, Miller website here.
  • Advertisements. Ads announcing the presidential search will be posted on key online forums including higher education news sites and on the search firm website.
  • Research Strategy. With expertise from the search firms, the committee will develop a robust strategy to identify qualified individuals.

What is the timeframe for the selection process?

Selecting our next president is a critically important endeavor. While the process is estimated to take approximately six months, the committee will take as much time as necessary to find the right individual to lead USC.

How will the USC community be informed about the progress of the selection process?

This presidential search website serves as the official, central hub of news and information related to the selection process. Periodic updates about the search will be posted on the website as they are available.

Who are the search firms?

The search will be assisted by two search firms – Isaacson, Miller and Heidrick & Struggles. Isaacson, Miller is one of the nation’s most accomplished education recruitment firms with deep experience at the highest levels of academia. They will lead the day-to-day logistics for the search. Heidrick & Struggles, a global executive search firm, will serve in an advisory capacity to ensure that we evaluate the broadest landscape of world-class leaders.

What is the role of the search firms?

The search firms serve as staff and provide their expertise in the search process to the search advisory committee. The firms play no role in deciding which candidates should move forward in the search process. Their role is to help identify potential candidates; reach out to those candidates to determine interest; and to conduct research and due diligence on candidates. They also help facilitate the work of the search advisory committee, including organizing input and recommendations, posting ads, preparing materials, and assisting with meeting logistics.

What if I have questions about the presidential selection process?

Anyone who has questions is encouraged to contact the search advisory committee at presidentialsearch@usc.edu.