Department Chair Search Practice

Harris Search Associates is a leading national firm in the field of higher education Department Chair search assignments and have successfully conducted over 900 search assignments on behalf of the foremost research and comprehensive universities, research parks, academic medical centers, hospital systems, and organizations driving global innovation.  

Higher Education Practice

Each year we conduct a number of Department Chair search assignments for a variety of institutions.  Department Chairs occupy the front lines for student engagement with academic matters, and the job of Department Chair has become a challenging one. 

Department chairs are increasingly the middle managers of universities charged with tending to budgets that draw upon a variety of sources – e.g., state funds in the case of a public institution, endowment proceeds, direct and indirect funds from sponsored research – each with its own set of rules for how they may be expended.

And, Department Chairs are increasingly now charged with actively seeking philanthropy to support their departments for everything from funds to enable faculty to travel, endowments with which to recruit or retaining outstanding professors, and new and needed buildings. Not everyone enjoys fund-raising, but Department Chairs are finding that activity to be a priority in their work.

Finally, the significance of the Department Chair can extend beyond the department since a sizeable number of chairs make up the pools of candidates for Dean and, in some instances, for provost within the university where chairs served or at other institutions seeking “outside” school/ college or university leadership. The experience gained by a department chair is often viewed as indicative of how s/he will serve in a deanship where communication and persuasion are premium skills and most provosts will have served as a chair.

As such, we continue to track the next generation of emerging talent and are known and trusted by the national leaders Department Chair search committees hope to attract.  This is then complemented by an active research and recruitment strategy to ensure a robust, diverse candidate pool is presented for review, and the assignment is successfully completed efficiently.

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Harris Search Associates is a leading global executive search firm. Our higher education and academic medicine practices are focused on identifying and attracting leaders Presidents, Provosts, Deans, Department Chairs, Researchers, and Senior Administrators to support the growth of clients in the areas of research, science, engineering, academic medicine and commercial enterprises. We are the higher education headhunters of choice for universities around the globe.