Presidential Transition: Update May 2, 2018

Subject: Brief Update on the Presidential Transition and Search Process

Date: May 2, 2018 

Dear Members of the Wentworth Community:

I want to provide you with a brief update on preparations for the presidential search process over the next year.  I have made two important committee appointments to support the presidential transition process and the presidential search. I have appointed Treasurer/Trustee Jerry Casey to serve as the Chair of the Presidential Transition Committee, and I have appointed Vice Chair of the Board/Trustee Greg Janey to serve as the Chair of the Presidential Search Committee. Jerry and Greg have strong leadership skills and the ability to execute steady processes that leverage strong foundational decisions for the university. I appreciate their willingness to take on these two key leadership roles for the Board over this next year.

In January, I formed a Board of Trustees’ Ad Hoc Presidential Transition Committee to assist the Board as it oversees a successful transition from one president to the next by defining the needs of the institution, assigning responsibility for addressing the needs, and ensuring success.

Under Presidential Transition Committee Chair Jerry Casey’s leadership, the committee’s membership also includes Presidential Search Committee Chair Greg Janey, Long Range Planning Board Committee Chair Jack Blaisdell, President Zorica Pantić, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Paula Sakey, Vice President for Executive Affairs Amy Intille, Senior AGB Fellow Ellen Chaffee, and myself. Amy Intille is serving as the committee’s coordinator.

The Presidential Transition Committee recognizes that the full Board of Trustees has central responsibility in the selection of the next president, and that this responsibility is the most important fiduciary duty that the Board will exercise in the next year. The committee also recognizes the importance of making recommendations to the Board for a process that models principles of shared governance and that is inclusive and allows all interested stakeholders to engage with this important selection process for this university.

The early charge of the Presidential Transition Committee in January and February was to plan and execute an announcement about President Pantić’s decision to step down as president in May 2019. With an announcement of the president’s planned retirement completed on February 20, the committee has turned its focus to making recommendations to the Board for planning other aspects of the presidential transition.

The committee has reflected upon what the appropriate scope of its work should be with regard to the presidential transition and has developed a draft charter that reflects the four areas of committee focus including: (1) establishing and implementing a communication plan for the president’s announcement; (2) making recommendations to assist the Board as it creates and oversees the presidential search process; (3) recommending that the Board assign the vice presidents collectively to develop and implement an Institute Bridge Plan; and (4) assisting the new president in making a successful transition into the role during the first months of service. The committee will submit its draft charter to the Board of Trustees for review and approval at its next meeting on May 10.  When the Board approves the committee’s charter, the Transition Committee will share the approved committee charter with the Wentworth community.

The Transition Committee is in the process of preparing a presidential search timeline that maps the roles and responsibilities of all participating stakeholders in the search process in a timeline format. The committee will present this presidential search timeline to the full Board for its review and input at the next quarterly meeting on May 10. After incorporating the Board’s input into the timeline, the Transition Committee will share the timeline with the Wentworth community. It is anticipated that this document will be updated regularly over the course of the next year.

I look forward to providing you with the next update later in May following the Board meeting.

P. Michael Masterson
Chair of the Wentworth Board of Trustees