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Fall 2019

  • October 2019 to December 2019: Issuance of RFP for Search Firm, Nominations and Selection of the Search Committee Members

Spring 2020

  • January 2020: Selection of the Search Firm by the Board of Trustees
  • February to May 2020: Search Committee Undergoes Affirmative Action Training, Needs Assessment Conducted, Position Profile Endorsed, and Advertisement/Outreach Campaign Advanced

Summer/Fall 2020

  • June to October 2020: Active Recruitment Launches, Screening of Candidates, Short List Identified, Reference Checking Conducted
  • November 2020: Search Committee Interviews Semi-Finalists (off-campus)
  • December 2020: Committee Advances Finalists, Onboarding Plan Developed

Spring 2021

  • Late January 2021/February 2021: Campus Interviews Scheduled and Hosted, Search Committee Issues Report to the Board, Onboarding Plan Confirmed
  • Spring 2021: Board Announces Fifth President of Ramapo College
  • Summer 2021: Ramapo’s Fifth President Takes Office

The search process will be as transparent as possible within the bounds of confidentiality necessary in any search. The community will be periodically apprised of progress and opportunities will be advanced to solicit input. Progress reports will be posted on this website and will be provided at all Board of Trustees meetings as the search proceeds. In addition, campus forums including but not limited to Unit Council Meetings, Communications Meetings, and President’s Advisory Council sessions may be leveraged to discuss the search process.

In the Spring of 2020, the Search Committee will work with the Search Firm to conduct a campus-wide needs assessment. Results of the assessment will inform the Position Profile as well as the advertisement/outreach campaign that will accompany it.

Semi-finalists will participate in offsite interviews with the Search Committee in the Fall of 2020. Finalists will visit campus in early 2021. Those visits will include private, semi-private, and public sessions. After each visit, members of the College will be solicited for input. Input received will shape the Search Committee’s Report to the Board which will include an unranked assessment of each finalists’ strengths and areas of concern.

The Board of Trustees will select and appoint the College’s fifth president in Spring of 2021. Ramapo’s fifth president will take office by July 1, 2021.

Committee Charge and Expectations of Committee Members

Charge of the 2021 Presidential Search Committee

The significance of a search for a College President cannot be overstated. The Association of Governing Boards (AGB) emphasizes that the skills and expertise required of a college president have shifted in recent decades. Today, the position requires individuals who can function as a manager, an academic leader, a politician, and a fundraiser. AGB advises that a successful leader will need to be an anticipatory thinker who can tolerate risk and encourage creativity, an effective convener, broker, and facilitator who is courageous and resilient in decision making. Ramapo’s next President must be energetic and innovative and must have a deep understanding of the transformative power of a liberal arts education and the current and future contexts within which public colleges function.

The search firm will be selected by the Board of Trustees. The role of the search firm is to follow the Search Committee’s lead and to arrive at a position profile and diverse pool that meets Ramapo’s current needs as well as its aspirations.

The roles of the Search Committee members are not to serve as advocates for their perceived representative groups but rather to act in the best interests of the College as a whole. The deliberations of the Search Committee must be confidential out of respect to the process and the candidates. The Search Committee will recommend final candidates to the Board of Trustees.  Final candidates will present to the campus and various groups/audiences will be encouraged at that time to share input with the Search Committee. The Board of Trustees will make the final decision.

Expectations of Committee Members

Committee members are asked to sign a Statement of Understanding which, in pertinent part, notes:

The following eight principles outline the expectations of the Board of Trustees (“Board”) with respect to the search process and the role and authority of the 2021 Presidential Search Committee (“Search Committee” or “Committee”) and its members:

1. The Search Committee will conduct an active national search to attract a diverse group of highly qualified candidates and none of its members will be a candidate for the position.

2. Search Committee members are expected to commit a significant amount of time and energy to the search process. Members shall promote the visibility of the opportunity among their professional networks, attend Committee meetings and candidate interviews, review all candidate application materials, and assist with campus visits and forums as needed.

3. Search Committee members are not to serve as advocates for their perceived representative groups but rather to act in the best interests of the College as a whole.

4. Search Committee members will observe strict confidentiality with respect to the process, the candidates, and the Committee’s internal deliberations. Any member of the Search Committee who breaches confidentiality will be removed from the Committee without replacement.

5. Search Committee members will identify and participate in preliminary interviews with semifinalists and, following preliminary interviews, identify candidates to be invited as finalists.

6. Search Committee members will collaborate to issue periodic reports, within the bounds of confidentiality, to members of Ramapo College and the Board about the progress of the search.

7. The Search Committee will provide the Board with a report outlining strengths and concerns for each of the finalists interviewed. The finalists shall not be ranked.

8. The selection of the President will be at the sole discretion of the Board pursuant to its statutory powers and duties.

My signature below represents that I understand and agree to the terms of this Statement of Understanding and the 2021 Presidential Search Committee Charge, a copy of which I have received and reviewed. Further, I recognize that my failure to adhere to any of the eight principles described above may result in the discontinuation of my service, without replacement, on the Search Committee.

Committee Composition and Nomination/Selection Process

Committee Composition

Susan A. Vallario, Vice Chair of the Board, was appointed chair of the Search Committee. Trustees William F. Dator, George C. Ruotolo, Jr., A.J. Sabath ‘93, and Vincent Colman also serve.

The Search Committee was designed to also include:

  • three faculty members,
  • one student representative and one alternate student representative
  • one Dean,
  • one staff representative,
  • one MFSA member
  • one alumni representative, and
  • one Foundation Board of Governors representative.

The expectation is that the committee membership represent the diversity of the College and serve the interests of the College at large.

Administrative support to the Committee is primarily be provided by the Office of the President and the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Compliance.

Committee Member Nomination and Selection

As noted above, the Board identified the Trustees on the 2021 Presidential Search Committee and looks forward to welcoming committee members from other segments of the Ramapo community. The community’s member groups were asked to coordinate the submission of nominations as follows:

Nominations were due by November 8, 2019.

Individuals interested in serving on the Committee were required to secure the support of their respective member group prior to submitting their nomination.

Individuals interested in serving on the Search Committee were asked to consider carefully the Timeline, Presidential Search Committee Charge which explains the Board’s expectations, as well as the Statement of Understanding which serves to affirm each committee member’s understanding of the time commitment and expected service. The Quick Reference/Download: 2021 Presidential Search Committee Member Nominee Resources (pdf) was made available to all nominees.

Members of the Board reviewed all nominations and selected Committee members with the goal of advancing a membership slate that represents the diversity of backgrounds, talents, and perspectives at the College.

The 2021 Presidential Search Committee Members were announced on December 12, 2019.

Search Firm

Request for Proposals

On October 7, 2019, a Request for Proposals was issued by the College for “Professional Consulting Services, Personnel Recruitment and Advertising Associated with a National Search for a College President”. Responses were due by November 12, 2019.

The RFP outlined the following responsibilities of the Search Firm:

The Firm will assist the Presidential Search Committee in developing a profile for the President position.  The Firm will conduct a needs assessment in partnership with the Committee and use its findings, along with other appropriate information available from the College, to develop and recommend to the Search Committee a position profile of the desirable characteristics and qualifications of the next President. With guidance from the Search Committee, the Firm will lead the development of a job advertisement and outreach strategy for the position.

In brief, the Firm will partner with the Search Committee to:

• Develop the search strategy.
• Conduct a needs assessment.
• Develop a position profile with the Search Committee and via input from the campus at large.
• Develop the position job advertisement.
• Publish the position advertisement in arenas that will attract a strong and diverse candidate pool meeting the position profile.
• Recruit qualified candidates by relying on the Firm’s network of executive-level personnel.
• Receive and confirm receipt of all candidate materials, advise all candidates of their nomination, and determine their interest in the opportunity.
• Maintain on-going communication with candidates throughout the process regarding the status of the search and their impressions of the College.
• Conduct confidential and thorough background searches and, upon request, reference checks on the candidates.
• Recommend and justify to the Search Committee the approximately fifteen (15) most qualified candidates via a written report that is accompanied by a presentation and an aggregate summary of the overall pool’s diversity as defined in the College’s Strategic Plan.
• Assist the Search Committee in culling the fifteen (15) candidates down to approximately eight (8) semi-finalists.
• Coordinate semi-finalist candidate off-campus interviews and facilitate and document, as appropriate, post-interview assessments with the Search Committee.
• Meet with the Search Committee to assist it with reducing the semi-finalists to approximately four (4) qualified finalists.
• Assist the Search Committee in coordinating the finalists’ campus interviews.
• Meet with the full Board at least once to provide context or support during its deliberations.


On January 27, 2020, following the receipt of proposals and presentations by multiple search firms, the Board of Trustees endorsed the selection of AGB Search to assist the College in its 2021 Presidential Search. An affiliate of the Association of Governing Boards, AGB Search is an executive search firm that specializes in the area of higher education. The firm was chosen for its broad connections in the higher education community and beyond, its unique understanding of the role of the college president and the liberal arts mission, its commitment to diversity, its understanding of New Jersey’s higher education environment, and its record of successful searches.

The AGB Search Team will include:

• Dr. Roderick McDavis, Managing Principal of AGB Search, who served for 13 years as President of Ohio University;
• Dr. Carlos Hernandez, Executive Search Consultant, who served for 19 years as President of New Jersey City University; and
• Kimberly Templeton, Principal, who has 25 years of experience as an executive search professional in the fields of higher education, non-profits, and law.