By Arielle Follett
Algonquin found a new college president quickly, but that doesn’t mean it was easy.
The first step Algonquin took was to employ a headhunting firm, Boyden Global Executive Search. The project was led by Ron Robertson, founding partner of Boyden Ottawa.
Boyden worked with Algonquin’s Board of Governors to form a presidential search team.
“We conduct the process by identifying candidates and developing public interest. We then take the applications, compare them to the criteria that has been set and present recommendations to the Board of Governors,” said Robertson. “We then proceed to facilitate the interviews.”
Fred Blackenstein, vice chair of the Board of Governors, was very impressed by the “wide participation from all facets of the college community,” he said.
This was one of Boyden’s largest campaigns with advertisements for the search in everything from the Ottawa Citizen to smaller educational magazines. Boyden also asked all stakeholders for any recommendations they may have for people to be considered.
As well as drawing applications from advertising, Boyden also approached people from colleges and similar institutions who they thought would be good candidates. This was how current president and past Mohawk College vice president academic, Cheryl Jensen, was brought in.
“We identified backgrounds of qualification for candidates and analyzed other community colleges,” Robertson said. “Cheryl appeared to be a good fit.”
The campaign was able to draw in over 50 applicants from other community colleges, universities and even some applications outside of the academic realm.
“We’re fortunate as a college that we have a great reputation and a lot of success which draws in very qualified applicants,” commented Shawn McBride, academic representative for the Board of Governors.
The 50 candidates were interviewed and then evaluated. The list was quickly shortened to just six people who were interviewed once again as their references were called. Ultimately, Jensen was chosen as Algonquin’s new president.
“There were many very good candidates,” Robertson said. “Cheryl was just the best combination of everything Algonquin was looking for. She had stellar academic and leadership experience and was exceptionally regarded by her peers. She and the board had a very easy rapport and chemistry. Both parties felt they had found a very good match.”
“Personally, I look forward to working with her as we approach Algonquin’s 50th anniversary in 2017,” Blackenstein said.