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Full steam ahead for St. Lawrence SUNYs’ presidential searches

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CANTON — SUNY Canton soon will have a list of dozens of candidates looking to be the next president of the college. Monday marks the deadline for applications and the start of the college’s considerations.

The college hopes to have a president in place by the start of the fall semester.

It hired RPA Inc., Williamsport, Pa., to oversee the search.

College Council Chairman Ronald M. O’Neill heads the 16-member search committee. He has not yet seen any of the applications, but expects RPA will have about 100 candidates by the deadline.

“We’re very happy with the number of applications they’ve received,” he said.

After the deadline, the applications will be placed on a private website accessible only to search committee members. They will narrow the list of candidates down to 10 to 15.

Phone interviews will begin in December, which will winnow the list of candidates a bit further.

Soon after, the committee will start meeting with candidates in person.

The names of all candidates will remain strictly confidential throughout most of this process.

This is done to make sure applicants do not risk their current employment by applying.

Once the board has narrowed the field to five or six candidates, their names will be made public, and the applicants will visit the campus for final interviews.

The search committee then will make its recommendations to the College Council, which in turn will recommend at least three candidates to SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.

Finally, the chancellor will make her recommendations to the SUNY board of trustees, which has the final say.

The college’s acting president, Joseph C. Hoffman, is eligible to apply. Mr. O’Neill said he has not seen the applications yet and does not know whether Mr. Hoffman is in the running.

Meanwhile, SUNY Potsdam is a few steps earlier in the same process. The college will begin advertising for applicants within the next few weeks.

“Once that happens, applications will begin to come in, but in the meantime the search company is already doing outreach to people they think would be a good fit,” said June F. O’Neill, SUNY Potsdam College Council chairwoman and Mr. O’Neill’s wife.

The college hired Academic Search Inc., Washington, D.C., to oversee the process.

Even though SUNY Potsdam started its search later than SUNY Canton, it still hopes to find a new president before the fall semester.

The steps to be taken are the same as at Canton, including the emphasis on confidentiality.

Unlike Mr. Hoffman, SUNY Potsdam interim President Dennis L. Hefner is not eligible to apply.

He plans to go back into retirement once someone new is found.

“We’re very excited, because in 2016 we’re celebrating our bicentennial. Our 16th president will lead us into our third century of excellence,” Mr. O’Neill said.

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