Retired HBCU Presidents Start Search Firm for Black-College Leaders

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T.J. Kirkpatrick/Redux for The Chronicle
T.J. Kirkpatrick/Redux for The Chronicle

How do you strengthen historically black colleges and universities? By strengthening the pipeline of administrators to run them. At least that’s the solution being taken up by a group of retired presidents of historically or predominantly black institutions.
On Tuesday four former presidents are to announce the founding of TM2 Education Search, a firm dedicated to identifying and placing candidates for top administrative posts at HBCUs.

TM2 , which is connected to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, will be the first executive-search firm focused exclusively on HBCUs, and it arrives at a critical time. Many historically black institutions struggle to maintain enrollment, and public HBCUs face dwindling state support. Such pressures compound the challenges for leaders, and have contributed to “fairly significant turnover of leadership in the black-college community,” according to John W. Garland, a former president of Central State University and executive chairman of TM2 .

Mr. Garland and his colleagues hope to reverse the trend by recruiting solid candidates for HBCU leadership positions, and by offering guidance, and a sounding board, for up to a year for the new presidents and other leaders whom TM2 places. “We understand how lonely these jobs can be,” he says. “And we also understand how important it is to have someone who you can call on for advice.”
TM2 also plans to work with boards of trustees to help them understand what they should be looking for in candidates, and to set realistic expectations for new leaders. That promises to be an important aspect of the firm’s services, given the number of bitter feuds between boards of trustees and new presidents at historically black institutions in recent years. If conflicts do arise within the first 12 months, “we can be a third party to mediate that discussion,” Mr. Garland says. Read Full via The Chronicle