Search Process

The search for the 12th President of the University of Southern California will be a deliberative and thorough process that includes the perspectives and expertise of our diverse USC family. While the Board of Trustees is responsible for selecting the next President, the Board seeks input from all stakeholders on your vision for USC’s future as well as the desired traits and qualifications of the next president.

To that end, the Board established the Presidential Search Advisory Committee to both lead the search and engage students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members throughout the process. The committee will then work with the search team that includes two firms – Isaacson, Miller and Heidrick & Struggles – to identify and interview prospective candidates, and recommend a finalist to the full Board of Trustees.

Throughout the search process, candidate status and their information will be kept confidential to the Presidential Search Advisory Committee and the search team. Prospective candidates expect this confidentiality so as to not endanger their current position. We ask that the community respect this need for confidentiality so that USC can attract and select from the very best candidates.

The search process consists of five phases:

Phase 1: Understanding the Challenge

  • The Presidential Search Advisory Committee and search team will conduct a series of on-campus forums and solicit confidential feedback via the Presidential Search Website to better understand your vision for the University and your priorities for the next president. This feedback helps develop the “candidate profile” which guides the committee in identifying prospective candidates and also providing those candidates with a greater understanding of USC.

Phase 2: Screening of Prospective Candidates

  • Once the candidate profile is complete, the committee and search team will engage in an extensive, global recruitment effort to attract a deep, diverse pool of candidates with the experience and skills to move USC forward. The search team will share interested candidates with the Presidential Search Advisory Committee for review and feedback.

Phase 3: Narrowing the Field

  • The Presidential Search Advisory Committee will review the most qualified and interested candidates, and then identify a subset of semi-finalists to move forward to confidential interviews with the committee as well as extensive reference and background checks.

 Phase 4: Selecting Finalist & Recommendation to the Board of Trustees

  • After conducting the semi-final interviews, the Presidential Search Advisory Committee will recommend a final candidate to the full Board of Trustees.

 Phase 5: The Final Choice 

  • Per the USC Bylaws, the Board of Trustees will meet, deliberate, and vote on the 12th President of USC.