Updates on the search
The search for Earlham College’s 21st president is now underway.
- Feb. 26, 2024 – Search committee interviews ‘strong’ pool of semifinalists
- Feb. 9, 2024 – 14 candidates identified for interviews
- Feb. 2, 2024 – Hundreds attend campus listening sessions
- Jan. 23, 2024 – Presidential search timeline released
- Jan. 17, 2024 – Times and locations for listening sessions announced
- Dec. 7, 2023 – Search committee announced; open listening sessions scheduled
- Nov. 6, 2023 – Board chair announces process, timeline for search
- Oct. 16, 2023 – Board chair reflects on President Houtman’s tenure
- Oct. 16, 2023 – President Anne Houtman announces retirement
Feb. 26, 2024 – Search committee interviews ‘strong’ pool of semifinalists
Dear Earlham Community –
This past weekend, the Search Committee met with candidates selected as semi-finalist in our search for Earlham’s next President. The good news is that the semi-finalist pool was strong: all candidates could claim successful leadership at senior levels in a wide variety of colleges and universities. And, all candidates understood and articulated Earlham’s important and special place in higher education Earlham’s stellar reputation clearly served us well in attracting a strong pool of candidates..
From the semi-finalist pool, the search committee has selected a smaller group of candidates who will now undergo a thorough review of their backgrounds, and their references will be checked. This process will take approximately 10 work days. After that review, the committee will then be able to reveal finalists, from which the board will choose Earlham’s next President.
Jim and I are grateful for the work of each and every member of the Search Committee. We are especially encouraged at how quickly the Committee has bonded together as a team, working collectively to make the best decision on behalf of Earlham.
We will keep you all updated as we have news to share.
—Jim and Drew on behalf of the Search Committee
Feb. 9, 2024 – 14 candidates identified for interviews
Dear Earlham Community,
On Tuesday of this week the search committee met to select candidates for in-person interviews with the committee in Indianapolis later this month. From a pool of 80 qualified candidates, we have selected 14 whom we believe worthy of further consideration to be selected as Earlham’s next President. Our confidence in this pool stems, in part, from a spirited, four-hour meeting during which we considered our top candidates carefully through shared approval.
Currently, committee members are submitting questions that we might use in the next round of vetting. The committee will work to finalize that common set of questions next.
We will update all of you after the interviews in Indianapolis, which take place on February 24th and 25th. Our work on those days is intended to produce the candidates who will visit all of you at Earlham for a full day of meetings and interviews with the Earlham community during the week of March 18.
We look forward to meeting with all of you and our finalists in March!
— Search committee chairs Jim Montoya and Drew Smith
Feb. 2, 2024 – Hundreds attend campus listening sessions
Dear Earlham Community,
The search committee and its co-chairs would like to thank the more than 100 of you who participated in on-campus listening sessions last month. Your ideas, concerns, and thoughtful responses to our queries will significantly shape the work of the search committee as we move forward.
The full committee is currently reviewing more than 70 applications that have been submitted through the Academic Search (our search consultant) portal. The goal now is to narrow that pool to a group of a dozen or so who will be interviewed by the committee near the Indianapolis airport later this month.
As co-chairs, we are feeling confident that this pool includes Earlham’s next president for a number of reasons:
- The pool includes candidates with deep and relevant administrative experience, including several who have served as either the president of a college or served as an interim president. One of the messages we heard from a number of you is that experience matters! We will interview candidates who have that experience;
- The pool includes candidates who clearly want to be president of Earlham College, not just a college president. We glean this from thoughtful cover letters that directly respond to our position statement in such a way that it is clear they have done extensive homework about Earlham. Others in the pool are alums of the college and can clearly articulate how Earlham set the course for their life’s work. And in a few cases, candidates are inspired by their own membership in the Religious Society of Friends;
- Finally, one of the members of the Academic Search team is Steve Schutt, Earlham graduate ‘76. He culminated his career in higher education by serving as president of Lake Forest College in Illinois for more than 20 years. We could not have asked for a better person to help vet the candidates who have made our pool!
We will continue to update all of you as we reach different phases of the search.
Thank you all again for participating in listening sessions and providing written feedback through the Earlham College website.
— Search committee chairs Drew Smith ’86 and Jim Montoya
Jan. 23, 2024 – Presidential search timeline released
The following key dates were shared today by the Presidential Search Committee.
Presidential search timeline announced
Tuesday, Jan. 23: Confidential website with applications opens to the Search Committee. Review of applications begins.
Tuesday-Wednesday, Jan. 23-24: On-campus listening sessions
Wednesday, Jan. 31: Best consideration deadline for applications.
Tuesday, Feb. 6: Search committee meets with consultants via Zoom to select semifinalists for initial interviews.
Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 24-25: Search committee interviews semi-finalists.
Feb. 26-March 8: Due diligence, referencing, and deep background checks begin.
Week of March 11: Invitations to campus are issued to finalists.
Week of March 18: Finalist interviews conducted.
Early April: Appointment is announced.
Jan. 17, 2024 – Times and locations for listening sessions announced
The Presidential Search Team is inviting all Earlham College community members to attend one or more listening sessions set for Tuesday, Jan. 23rd and Wednesday, Jan. 24th.
Anyone can attend any session but there will be specific focus for some. It is the goal of the Search Team to get a clear sense of what the community is looking for in a new president’s qualifications, gifts and skills and the search process itself.
All comments are welcomed, so plan to share your voice in the important next step for the College.
The sessions are as follows:
Tuesday, Jan. 23
Richmond Room (LBC 101)
9-9:40 a.m. (everyone)
10-10:40 a.m. (staff focus)
11-11:40 a.m. (administrative faculty focus)
3-3:40 p.m. (teaching faculty)
4-4:40 p.m. (student focus)
5-5:45 p.m. (everyone)
*These meetings will also be accessible via Zoom. Click here and enter meeting ID 882 1991 6620. The passcode is 778165.
Earlham School of Religion dining room
1-1:50 p.m. (ESR focus)
*This meeting will also be accessible via Zoom. Join room 825 2858 5703. Passcode is 082347
Wednesday, Jan. 24
Richmond Room (LBC 101)
9-9:40 a.m. (teaching faculty focus)
10-10:40 a.m. (administrative faculty focus)
11-11:40 a.m. (staff focus)
Friends Room A and B (Dining Hall)
12-1:30 p.m. (student focus)
Dec. 7, 2023 – Search committee announced; open listening sessions scheduled
Dear Earlham Community,
It is our honor to serve as the co-chairs of the search committee for Earlham’s new president. In this email, we wish to share with the Earlham community:
- The members of the search committee
- The dates of upcoming community meetings to hear your thoughts about a new president
- A preliminary timeline for the search.
Search Committee Membership
The search committee includes members from key constituencies of the Earlham community. Our goal in forming a presidential search committee is to balance broad representation with a manageable committee size. This is necessary given our timeline – the intense work begins early next semester. We are grateful to those who have agreed to serve on the search committee.
Jim Montoya, Trustee
Drew Smith ‘86, Trustee
Zachariah Andre ‘24, Earlham College Student
Peter Blair, Earlham College Teaching Faculty
Tania Deng ‘87, Trustee
Rodolfo Guzman, Earlham College Teaching Faculty
Diana Hadley, Trustee
Martha Hill ‘79, Alumni Representative (and Trustee)
Adam Hutchinson, Earlham College Administrative Faculty
Janica Kyriacopoulos ‘81, Trustee
Fred McClure ‘84, ex officio as Board of Trustees Vice Chair
Alan Scantland ‘74, Trustee
Lyn Thomas, Earlham College Staff Representative
Tom Thornburg ‘84, ex officio as Board of Trustees Chair
O’Jeanique Twyman, Earlham College Administrative Faculty
Colleen Wessell-McCoy, Earlham School of Religion (ESR) Representative, ESR Teaching Faculty
Earlham staffing by:
Jennifer Kirk Ferrell, Wellness Programs Administrative Assistant
Special advisor to the committee:
Bob Graham ‘65, Trustee; chair of 2019 Earlham presidential search committee
The official charge to the committee reads as follows:
The selection and appointment of the President of Earlham (Earlham College and the Earlham School of Religion) is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees, pursuant to Article III, Section 2 of the Earlham Bylaws. We ask the Presidential Search Committee, an ad hoc committee appointed by the Board, to take the following actions to complete the search and prepare the Board for the proper execution of its responsibility.
(See below for the full charge)
Open Meeting Dates
We look forward to hearing directly from members of the Earlham community through a series of in-person open meetings in late January, before we begin evaluating candidates. In our roles as co-chairs, we will be on campus on January 23 and 24 for these meetings, and very much encourage you to participate. Use the following link to access the Qualtrics to input your preliminary thoughts on the qualities we should seek in a new president. Input to the Search Committee
A community website will provide updates on the search: earlham.edu/president-search
Our current plan is to bring finalists on campus in March after the Spring Break. Open meetings will allow members of the Earlham community to meet with candidates and offer feedback. Assuming all goes as planned, the Search Committee will present in late March its recommendations to the Board of Trustees.
We look forward to meeting with you in January,
Sending you our best,
Drew and Jim
Nov. 6, 2023 – Board chair announces process, timeline for search
Greetings Earlham Community,
I hope your semester is going well, and you’re enjoying late fall in Richmond. I write to you about the upcoming search for a successor to Anne Houtman as President on behalf of the Earlham Board of Trustees.
The Board appreciates very much the work Anne has done and will continue to do. We are grateful to Anne for her leadership and care of Earlham over the years, setting forth a thoughtful and clearly articulated plan to move the College forward. We appreciate Anne’s deep commitment, working with her senior team and the entire community, to make significant progress on Earlham’s goals in her remaining time as president. I assure you that the Board very much wants a smooth transition and a strong future for Earlham.
We are organizing the search for Earlham’s next president. Earlham’s Bylaws provide that the Board is responsible for hiring the president. That said, the Board will welcome input from the Earlham community during the search. We are putting together a search committee with representatives from trustees, teaching and administrative faculty, students, staff, ESR, and alumni. That committee will be co-chaired by my fellow trustees Drew Smith and Jim Montoya. I am finalizing a charge to that committee from the Board.
I expect the search committee will conduct some campus listening sessions, while moving ahead with its work of recruiting and evaluating candidates. That committee will ultimately recommend a small number of candidates for the Board to consider. We are on an aggressive schedule to find Anne’s successor by spring 2024 so we can make a summer transition.
As a point of information, a common controversy in an Earlham presidential search process is confidentiality. At certain stages of the search process and with particular kinds of candidates (like sitting presidents at other colleges), confidentiality is highly important for keeping them in the process. That can sometimes be at odds with Earlham’s openness. We will deal with this issue as directly as we can. We want the best possible candidate to succeed Anne, and that may mean more confidentiality at some stages of the search.
We will share more information as it becomes available. Thanks for all you do to make Earlham a wonderful place.
Chair, Earlham Board of Trustees
Earlham Class of 1984
Oct. 16, 2023 – Board chair reflects on President Houtman’s tenure
Dear Earlham Community:
On behalf of the Earlham Board of Trustees, I am writing in appreciation for the leadership, commitment, and passion President Anne Houtman has shown the Earlham community during her service as our 20th president. When we learned of Anne’s intent to retire as president of Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion, effective July 31, 2024, the board accepted this news with mixed emotions. While we are excited for Anne and her husband, Will, as they enter this next chapter of their lives, we will deeply miss her leadership and friendship.
We are grateful that Anne will leave the College in a better place than she found it, with a solid and clearly articulated plan to move the College forward. We know she, her leadership team, and the Earlham community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni will work hard toward the goals Anne has set out for Earlham in her remaining nine months at Earlham.
Anne began her tenure at Earlham during a tumultuous time and faced the unenviable task of making difficult financial decisions — including a reduction of staff — in order to secure the College’s future. She did so with grace, courage and compassion. This was followed by something none of us could’ve imagined: a global pandemic. Though the challenges posed by COVID were unprecedented, she was able to maintain Earlham’s commitment to in-person living and learning and provided leadership in a time of great uncertainty and upheaval.
In addition to helping Earlham weather these significant challenges, she also led Earlham through a period of substantial growth. She oversaw the creation and full launch of the Epic Journey, which sets Earlham apart among our peers and underscores the value of an Earlham education for prospective students and their parents. She worked with faculty to stand up new majors and championed the development of new athletics programs. She oversaw the most ambitious fundraising effort in Earlham’s history, the For Good campaign, which is on track to exceed its $85 million goal. Under her leadership, Earlham’s new student enrollment has started to rebound and she and her leadership team have created an ambitious but well-vetted plan to continue enrollment growth.
We are tremendously grateful for Anne’s contributions to making Earlham better, and we are thankful to the support of her husband, Will, and her family as well.
Earlham’s bylaws provide that the board of trustees is responsible for filling this vacancy. The board is putting together a process now for finding Anne’s successor. The board will share details as they become available.
It is important for us that our next president has a passion for making the mission of a special place like Earlham come alive, the talents for working in a place that embraces community as fully as Earlham does, and acumen with the academic, financial, and enrollment challenges faced today by a national liberal arts college.
Thank you, Anne, for your service, and thank you to the Earlham community for your continued work on behalf of this great College.
Chair, Earlham Board of Trustees
Earlham Class of 1984
Oct. 16, 2023 – President Anne Houtman announces retirement
At the October Board meeting last week, I informed the trustees that the fifth year of my presidency will be my last. I will be retiring as President of Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion on July 31, 2024. I will also be retiring as Professor of Biology at the end of my 31st year as a tenured/tenure-track professor. We agreed to share the news only after Homecoming so that it did not take away from this wonderful annual alumni celebration.
Serving as Earlham’s president has been the most significant honor and joy of my career. As you can imagine, this has been a difficult decision to make, but Will and I feel that it is time to return to projects we put on hold when we took up the presidency in July 2019.
I feel very proud of all that we have accomplished at Earlham, and am confident that Earlham is in a better place now than when I arrived. This is in large part due to one of my proudest legacies – the professional and collaborative leadership team I have built. I am certain that Earlham will be able to bring in a very strong 21stpresident in large measure because of all the hard work we have accomplished together over these years.
I have focused my presidency on widening the path to an Earlham education, in part to address long-term enrollment difficulties that led to our current financial challenges. But I also felt very deeply that it was the right thing to do at a Quaker college deeply committed to creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive living and learning community. These efforts embraced by the entire college community will strengthen our mission to educate Earlhamites who will graduate with the necessary resolve to make the world a better place.
We have made measurable progress on this journey, and still we have a long way to go. I say “we” because I will always be an Earlhamite. Every time I say “the world needs more Earlhamites,” I feel it deeply in my heart and soul. This is important work we are doing in challenging times.
I will be working as your full-time president at the same pace as I have throughout my time at Earlham; right up until my last day, I will be advancing our shared goals and priorities. And afterwards, I will be right down the road in Centerville, cheering you on and supporting the College in every way possible. I want you to know that I will do everything in my power to ensure the most generative possible transition for Earlham’s new president. Over this academic year, I intend to focus on the critical goals in our financial sustainability/enrollment growth plan, on the completion of the comprehensive campaign that supports our strategic priorities, on meeting alumni across the country to tell Earlham’s story with passion, and, with the Earlham Board, on supporting the cabinet and community during the transition.
Thanks to all Earlhamites – students, alumni, trustees, staff and faculty — for your support over the course of this journey to build an ever-stronger Earlham.
President, Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion