Jan. 30, 2020

Jan. 30, 2020

Presidential message

As we begin an extensive, thoughtful, and strategic search for Creighton University’s next provost, following the recent announcement of Dr. Tom Murray’s intentions to retire from the position, I would like to share some details about this important process.

First, in keeping with candidates’ increasing requests for confidentiality and changing practices in higher education, this will be a confidential search.

Completely open searches for leadership positions on college campuses are becoming less frequent. Many of the most highly qualified candidates refuse to engage in an open search, because they do not want their current institutions to know they are looking elsewhere. In addition, an open search can create negative exposure for those candidates who are not chosen for the position they are seeking.

Degrees of confidentiality are closely observed even in normative open searches. The review of applications, the vetting of candidates, and offsite “airport” interviews are normatively conducted privately by search committees, and this protocol remains the same.  In implementing a confidential search now, the notable difference occurs in the final stage of the search, whereby the few finalists – typically there are three – will not be publicly revealed and engaged.

However, input from the campus community will be essential to the process. To that end, we will host listening sessions, both in person and virtual, and deploy a survey to receive comments from the campus community related to the skills, experience, and attributes needed by the next provost to successfully advance the University in key areas.

Those areas include our Jesuit, Catholic mission; studies in the liberal arts and humanities; our teaching and research efforts; the radical demographic shift in college enrollment nationally; opportunities for new academic programs for lifelong learners; Creighton’s strength in the health sciences, business, and law; and the expansion of our mission in Phoenix, Arizona.

Too, we have gained remarkable momentum with our strategic plan, Creighton 150: Lighting the Way, and we anticipate the public launch in the fall of a comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Knowing your perspective and interest in provost leadership, including the priorities you embrace, is necessary.

As I stated in my previous message, we have enlisted the executive search firm of Isaacson, Miller to assist, and I am assembling a search committee that will include faculty, staff, and student representation. Five search committee members will be appointed by the Faculty Council (2), Staff Advisory Council (2), and the Creighton Students Union (1).

I hope to announce the search committee chair and other committee members at Convocation, along with information on a provost search website. The search committee, the Faculty Advisory Committee for Strategic Planning, and other representative groups will be involved in interviewing the finalists.

I look forward to the participation of the campus community in this process, and I will share updates in future messages.


Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD