About Us: Presidential Search

Presidential Search

Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Ph.D., C’96: Letter to the Community

Celeste Watkins-HayesMarch 2, 2015

Dear Spelman College Community:

I am pleased to provide an update regarding the search for the 10th president of Spelman College.  We have successfully completed the first three phases of the search, which included planning and organizing the process, developing the Leadership Profile, and recruiting a strong and diverse prospective candidate pool.

In Phase 3, the Presidential Search Committee (PSC) and the search firm, Isaacson, Miller (IM), used the Leadership Profile as a guide as we executed a very robust outreach and recruitment effort. While we are not at liberty to discuss the specifics, we can say that we engaged a very talented, diverse, and inclusive pool of candidates representing traditional and non-traditional backgrounds and a variety of disciplines, institutions and regions. 

We are now in Phase 4. The PSC is learning more and more about specific candidates of interest. As part of the extensive interviewing process, the PSC will ask specific questions of importance and concern to students, faculty, staff, alumnae, parents, trustees, and friends of the College. Many of the questions will be based on the criteria as set forth in the Leadership Profile that many of you helped to shape. 

There will also be the opportunity for the Spelman community to meet the recommended finalist and provide feedback during a campus visit. After the campus visit, the PSC will review the feedback and make its final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. We will share more details on the campus visit as soon as they are available.
As we have interacted with the candidates, they have stressed the need for confidentiality. While they are all very enthusiastic about Spelman, they do not want to jeopardize their current employment or create a climate of uncertainty at the institutions in which they have leadership roles. We share their concerns and agree that guarding their privacy and protecting the integrity of the process are of the utmost importance.

Also underway is a concurrent planning process around the presidential transition that includes farewell events for Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum and planning for the onboarding process of the incoming president. You will be hearing more about those activities from the Office of College Relations and the Office of Institutional Advancement.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the PSC, I hope that you continue to have confidence in this process and have experienced it as smooth, appropriately inclusive, and appropriately transparent. We have worked to ensure that students, faculty, staff, alumnae, parents, and friends of the college represent a strong and valued voice in the process. We thank you for your continued interest, participation, and support in this endeavor.  We are confident that with your commitment and engagement, we will select the best person to lead Spelman to even greater heights.

Warmest regards,

Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Ph.D., C’96
Vice Chair, Spelman College Board of Trustees
Chair, Presidential Search Committee