College Headhunters, Accustomed to Secrecy, Find Themselves Under Scrutiny

College Headhunters, Accustomed to Secrecy, Find Themselves Under Scrutiny 1

Michael Schwarz/Special to Tallahassee Democrat

R. William Funk resigned as a search consultant at Florida State U. after an unusual no-confidence vote by the Faculty Senate. “There is an intrinsic suspicion on the part of some constituents” of search firms, he said.

Enlarge Image
close College Headhunters, Accustomed to Secrecy, Find Themselves Under Scrutiny 1

Michael Schwarz/Special to Tallahassee Democrat

R. William Funk resigned as a search consultant at Florida State U. after an unusual no-confidence vote by the Faculty Senate. “There is an intrinsic suspicion on the part of some constituents” of search firms, he said.

Good college headhunters are mostly invisible.

These highly paid consultants, who have significant influence over how academic-leadership searches play out, pride themselves on being behind-the-scenes facilitators, connecting governing boards and search committees with dream candidates. But times have changed. The often politicized and sometimes rancorous process of selecting college leaders has come under greater public scrutiny, and the search-firm industry now finds itself on the