SIU enrollment

Pulliam Hall is seen in the background as students walk between classes at SIU in September 2017.

CARBONDALE — The 27-member committee that will choose Southern Illinois University’s next president assembled for the first time Monday in Edwardsville to set a concrete and “aggressive” calendar, said Phil Gilbert, chairman of the SIU Board of Trustees.

Over the next three months, the panel will pass 10 to 12 candidates to the Board of Trustees. By late September, Gilbert said, standouts will be invited to interview, and by the end of the calendar year, a new leader should be ready to replace Interim President J. Kevin Dorsey.

International executive search firm Witt/Kiefer is in charge of getting applicants to the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, Gilbert said, and will be advertising the job in industry publications, plus reaching out directly to well-suited candidates.

They told us, “We’ll call up people who might think they're happy with their current jobs, and convince them how happy they’d be at Southern,” Gilbert said.

The search committee includes representatives chosen by the students, faculty, civil service staff, administrative staff, alumni associations, civic communities and fundraising foundations of each SIUC and SIUE.

It is to be led by Ed Hightower, who participated in a presidential search at SIU during a prior stint on the Board of Trustees.

“He has gone through this before, and is familiar with the process,” Gilbert said.

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Gabriel Neely-Streit is a reporter for The Southern covering higher education.

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