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Board selects search firms to find university presidents

JACKSON — The search firms to find new presidents at Alcorn State University, Jackson State University (JSU) and Mississippi University for Women (MUW) have been selected, but how much these searches will cost taxpayers is yet to be determined.

Yesterday, the Board of Trustees of the State institutions of Higher Learning chose Ayers & Associates Inc. of Arlington, Va., to search for new presidents at both Alcorn and JSU. In choosing Ayers, the board pointed to the firm’s extensive experience with searches at historically black colleges and universities, which included finding a new dean at Mississippi Valley State University and president of Tougaloo College.

Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search won the job of finding a permanent replacement for Dr. Claudia Limbert at MUW. Parker is a well-known commodity among the board — it recently recruited Dr. Hank Bounds as commissioner of higher education, Dr. Dan Jones as the new chancellor at the University of Mississippi as well as Scott Stricklin as the new athletic director at Mississippi State University.

The board also voted to have Bounds negotiate the final contract terms with Ayers and Parker. In its proposal, Ayers set its fee at $154,275 if asked to find presidents at two of the universities. Parker set its one-school search fee at $75,000.

Bounds said he hoped to have the contracts finalized this week.

The two firms not selected were: Washington, D.C.-based Academic Search, which was hurt in its bid when the board learned that the firm’s principal, Dr. Frank Pogue Jr., had just been named the new president at Grambling State University; and Witt/Keiffer of Oak Brook, Ill.

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