Presidential Search Update - 09/11/2023

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To: WCU Campus Community
From: Robert M. Tomlinson, WCU Council of Trustees Chair
Date: September 11, 2023
Subject: Revised: Presidential Search Update

Note: the following e-mail has only been modified to reflect the revised representation of the faculty and finalizes the Presidential Search Committee’s membership.

I am writing as chair of West Chester University’s Council of Trustees to share that earlier this evening the Council appointed several members of the campus community to the Presidential Search Committee in addition to having received appointments for seats reserved for specific constituencies per Procedure/Standard Number 2021-50. As of September 11th, 2023, the following individuals are formally appointed to the West Chester University Presidential Search Committee:

Christopher Franklin, Trustee, Chair (II.A.1&12)

Susan Yoder Schick, Trustee (II.A.1)

Jonathan Ireland, Trustee (II.A.1)

Desha Williams, Dean of the College of Education and Social Work, Executive Council Selection (II.A.2)

Carolyn Evans, Academic Affairs, Non-Instructional Council Selection (II.A.4)

Amah Dunor, Graduate Student Association President, Additional Council Selection (II.A.7)

Sabrina Rightmer, Student Affairs, Additional Council Selection (II.A.7)

Patricia Shields, Administration and Finance, Additional Council Selection (II.A.7)

Tracey Ray Robinson, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Advisor (II.A.8)

Margaret Ervin, APSCUF Primary (II.A.3)

Dana Morrison, APSCUF Alternate (II.A.3)

Kristen Crossney, Faculty Election Primary (II.A.3)

Marc Gange, Faculty Election Alternate (II.A.3)

Marshal Kerdeman, Non-Instructional Primary (II.A.4)

Michael Raith, Non-Instructional Alternate (II.A.4)

Alexandra Clancy, SGA Primary (II.A.5)

Sierra Irving, SGA Alternate (II.A.5)

Matthew Holliday, Alumni Association Primary (II.A.6)

Joseph Kienle, Alumni Association Alternate (II.A.6)

Bill Gindlesperger, Board of Governors (II.A.9)

Aaron Walton, Non-Voting University President (II.A.10)

Randy Goin Jr., Non-Voting Office of the Chancellor Liaison (II.A.11)

We are proud of the diverse membership of this search committee and believe these individuals have the knowledge, skill, and talent to represent the entire University as it searches for our 16th president.

The Council takes very seriously its statutory responsibility for making recommendations regarding the appointment and retention of presidents. As we discussed the future of West Chester University, we were struck by the tremendous momentum we have gained over the past six years, and we wish to continue building on our success in offering a high-quality education to students at an affordable price, recruiting world-class scholars to join its faculty and adapting, continuously, to the ever-changing terrain of higher education.

As higher education continues to reimagine itself, West Chester University is in the fortunate position of having among its ranks one of its own senior leaders who has earned a national reputation for sustainably and equitably advancing the mission of public higher education and student success. Dr. R. Lorraine (Laurie) Bernotsky has spent her entire career advancing students’ access to success through public higher education. She brings an understanding of West Chester University and our State System that is unparalleled and exemplifies the understanding that all students within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education benefit when our universities work not only together but in collaboration with our shared governance structures, including our unions. In addition to her success here at West Chester University, we have been fortunate to witness the incredible outcomes she has produced at PennWest by creating a strategic framework that is allowing a sister institution to forge its own path toward a sustainable and equitable future.

With the intent of ensuring the continued success of our University, the Council has secured approval from Chancellor Dan Greenstein, in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors pursuant to Procedure/Standard Number 2021-50, to enable the Search Committee to explore the candidacy of Dr. Laurie Bernotsky before deciding whether to proceed to an open national search. The chancellor notified us that the Executive Committee of the Board has concurred with his recommendation to approve the request.

Tonight, the Council unanimously approved the Search Committee’s charge, which includes developing a position profile that describes the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experiences the University is seeking in its next president. Following this work, the Search Committee will organize a comprehensive and inclusive university-wide process designed to elicit the feedback of students, faculty, staff, and alumni who reflect the diversity of the University. Our charge requires that the process includes opportunities to interact with Dr. Bernotsky through venues such as interviews, open forums, presentations, etc.

After the Search Committee has had sufficient time to review the feedback from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other members of the campus community participating in the above evaluation, they are charged with making a formal recommendation on Dr. Bernotsky’s candidacy to the Council of Trustees, who will then determine whether to make a recommendation to the Board of Governors for appointment or to proceed to an open recruitment process. It is the Council’s desire that a formal recommendation be made no later than December 1 to allow for enough time should it be necessary to proceed to a national search.

We look forward to all members of our community of educators engaging in an inclusive process that will guarantee West Chester University’s continued forward motion. Should you have any questions, please email