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Presidential Search

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Dr. Campbell’s retirement become effective?
Dr. Campbell will retire at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, effective June 30, 2022.


Why is Dr. Campbell retiring?
Dr. Campbell decided to come out of retirement in 2015 because she felt she could make meaningful contributions to this extraordinary institution. After Dr. Campbell’s six years in the role, today, Spelman is in a position of strength and is well-equipped to continue to advance its mission.

That’s why after much thought, Dr. Campbell made the difficult decision that the end of the 2021-2022 academic year is the right time to re-enter retirement and pass the baton onto the next leader so they can continue to build on Spelman’s momentum.


Has the Spelman College Board of Trustees accepted Dr. Campbell’s resignation?
The Board of Trustees understands and accepts Dr. Campbell’s assessment that this is the right time to return to retirement and will greatly miss her impactful and compassionate leadership. Thanks to Dr. Campbell’s extraordinary leadership and commitment to continuing and advancing Spelman’s contributions to the Black community, nation and world, she has paved a tremendous pathway for her successor.

What has Dr. Campbell accomplished during her time at Spelman?
While Dr. Campbell had countless achievements as president, some of the accomplishments Spelman experienced as a result of her leadership included:

  • Attracting some of the best talent in academia to its faculty and leadership team;
  • Adding five new endowed professorships to continue to retain and recruit outstanding faculty;
  • Enhancing learning opportunities for students in art history & curatorial studies, artificial intelligence, biology, documentary filmmaking, economics, entrepreneurship, and photography;
  • Exceeding the $250M goal of its capital campaign goal to raise $250 million in only four years;
  • Attracting over $120M of new financial aid for students;
  • Experiencing impressive endowment growth, with the corpus now approaching $500 million [up from $342 million when she started];
  • Raising the funds for major capital upgrades and additions, including enhancing the college’s technology core;
  • Adding an impressive new mix of cutting edge academic programs;
  • Cultivating major new academic and corporate partnerships;
  • Leading Spelman’s rise among the top performers on social mobility (ranked No.4) and most innovative school (ranked No. 7);
  • Strengthening Spelman’s business model with the launch of a new enterprise, eSpelman, to deliver online education to working adult learners.

Who will be the next president of Spelman?
The Board of Trustees launched a formal and comprehensive search to select the college’s 11th president. While the process is underway, Dr. Campbell’s successor has not yet been identified and the Board will thoroughly evaluate each candidate to find the ideal person to lead Spelman in its next exciting chapter.


Who is responsible for appointing the next president?
The Board of Trustees is responsible for electing the next president in accordance with the Spelman College by-laws. While a Presidential Search Committee of the Board was appointed and launched in September to carry out the important task of establishing the process for identifying the next President and leading the Board through the process, the responsibility for electing the next president rests with the full Board of Trustees.


What is the role of the Presidential Search Committee?
The role of the Presidential Search Committee is to conduct a national search to identify and interview the most-qualified candidates and recommend a finalist to the Board of Trustees, whose members will make the final decision on electing the president, In accordance with the College’s bylaws.


Are there ways I can participate in the search process?
Yes, and hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and other stakeholders have already participated directly in the process by completing the Presidential Search survey published on the website by the college, sending emails, and submitting nominations or suggestions regarding the next president. We also continue to welcome nominations of candidates and suggestions of people whom the search firm should contact as part of our outreach and recruitment efforts. Please submit these to SpelmanPresident@StorbeckSearch.com.


Will internal candidates be considered for the role?
Internal candidates are welcome to apply for the position and will participate in the same thorough evaluation process as external candidates.


Do you expect the next President of Spelman to be an alumna of the College?
Understanding and appreciating the College’s history and continuing role in educating women leaders, the board encourages nominations and applications from Spelman alumnae, as well as those of non-alumnae. The Presidential Search Committee is committed to identifying a diverse group of outstanding candidates in order to find the best leader, without exception, to forward the mission and strategic goals of the College and position it for future success.


How do candidates apply?
In the coming weeks, a position description with information on how to apply will be available online and distributed widely.


Will the names of the candidates be shared with the community?
To attract the highest caliber of candidates, the board believes it is imperative that the individual names be kept highly confidential throughout the screening and interview process. Revealing the names of candidates would be damaging to our ability to attract the best talent pool, specifically placing the current position and careers of potential candidates at risk, as it will likely discourage outstanding candidates from applying or participating in the process once nominated.


Will only one finalist be introduced to the campus community?
The next president of Spelman is likely already in another high-impact role. In order to attract outstanding candidates, the board believes that it will be imperative to ensure confidentiality. the board’s judgment may lead to the decision for a single finalist to be introduced to the campus. We have an obligation to ensure that current leaders who are prospective candidates are not required to jeopardize their current positions or subject their current organizations to the instability that comes when it is publicly known that the leader is considering a career transition. It is therefore in the collective interests of Spelman College, candidate/s and their respective institution/s to make a determination regarding campus visits at a later stage of the process taking into consideration the expectations and requirements for confidentiality.


Will there be an opportunity to meet the final candidate(s)?
We anticipate that there will be an opportunity for a campus visit. A campus visit would include the opportunity for a finalist to meet with select members of the student, faculty, staff, and alumnae bodies, and other key stakeholders.


When will the next Spelman president be announced?
Spelman’s intention is to announce the next president of the college by this coming spring, and welcome the new president to campus by the start of the 2022-2023 academic year.


How can I receive updates on the search process?
The most current updates will be shared through the Spelman Presidential Search website. The search committee will also share regular updates with the Spelman community as they are available.


How can the Spelman community thank Dr. Campbell for her leadership and service?
Over the coming months, the Board of Trustees will share ways for the Spelman community to join together to express its heartfelt appreciation for all that Dr. Campbell has done in her time at the college.