The Clark College Board of Trustees has agreed to pay a headhunting firm $45,000 to find its next president.
The Vancouver community college selected Gold Hill Associates to recruit President Bob Knight’s replacement in time for the 2020-2021 school year. The contract will also include travel costs for the national search firm.
The firm’s CEO, Preston Pulliams, was president at Portland Community College from 2004 to 2013 and sits on the Oregon State University board of trustees.
Gold Hill Associates is also tasked with appointing an interim president beginning in August. The interim president will not be considered for the permanent position, according to a college news release.
Knight announced his retirement in January, bringing his 15-year tenure at the college to a close. In a news release, trustee Paul Speer said the college is committed to “conducting an equitable, inclusive and transparent national search” for his replacement. Speer and board vice chair Jane Jacobsen are leading the board’s selection process.
“For more than a decade, President Knight has provided stability and vision helping the college grow, adapt and serve its community,” he said. “This is an important moment for Clark College.”
The college will also run its own Presidential Search Advisory Committee made up of college staff and community leaders from outside the college to help in the process.
The decision comes in the midst of bargaining between the college and its faculty union. How the appointment of an interim president could affect negotiations remains to be seen.
Kim Sullivan, president for the Clark College Association for Higher Education, said she worries an interim president won’t make significant budget decisions, and that a permanent replacement will be hesitant to do so in their first year.
“We need to settle this and settle it now,” Sullivan said.
Clark College is at least slated to adopt its budget by July, a month before Knight’s departure.
The school is still considering about $3 million in cuts, though Clark College spokeswoman Kelly Love said college leadership are still analyzing the 2019-2021 state budget to determine how it could affect the college.
Clark’s trustees will meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Gaiser Hall on the main campus at 1933 Fort Vancouver Way. The college is slated to discuss its presidential search but will not make any more decisions on the matter.