WMU News

WMU dean gains valuable insights on presidential searches

Jan. 23, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Dr. Margaret Merrion, dean of the College of Fine Arts at Western Michigan University and a member of the University's Presidential Search Advisory Committee was among 26 women selected to attend the National Leadership Forum of the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C., Dec. 4-6, 2002.

The biennial forums, sponsored by the ACE Office of Women in Higher Education, are designed to help female administrators advance to top leadership positions in higher education, especially college and university presidencies.

Forum participants spend time with representatives from executive search firms, who critique resumes and mock interviews. Participants also spend time individually with current university presidents, discussing their career goals and interests.

"It is an extremely helpful process, even if you never choose to seek a presidency," says Merrion. "I gained an entirely new set of insights on what goes into being a university president and especially the whole presidential search process."

Merrion says she intends to put the experience to good use as a member of WMU's presidential search committee.

WMU's Dr. Elaine L. Phillips of the University Counseling and Testing Center was also among those attending the December 2002 National Leadership Forum.

More than 50 National Leadership Forums have been held since the first, in 1977, involving more than a thousand female administrators. Most of the past participants have advanced to higher administrative posts and about one-fifth have gone on to presidencies in higher education.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thomas.myers@wmich.edu

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