Committee Updates

February 11, 2016

Update on the Andrews University Presidential Search Process

Dear Andrews University Community:

The Andrews University Presidential Search Committee successfully completed a day and a half of interviews with four candidates for the position of president of Andrews University. The committee members were pleased to see the quality of professional individuals that they were able to engage. The committee used a set of carefully prepared questions that had been refined in previous meetings. It also used an evaluation and scoring system, which allowed each committee member to indicate his or her reaction to the answers given by each of the candidates. Each committee member input her or his scores and comments into Survey Monkey. After the last interview, the committee was able to see and do a preliminary analysis of the group’s assessment of the candidates.

The result was that two of the four candidates scored higher than the other two. After a review of the comments from reference checks, the committee felt that a tentative direction had been set. There will be one more Search Committee meeting prior to the March board meeting to review further analysis of the scoring, consider any additional information from references or other sources, and affirm a final decision regarding who will be recommended to the Board of Trustees. It is expected that two names will be given to the board for their consideration.

I have been told that there are some on campus who thought the candidates would be brought to the campus for public interviews and interaction at this stage. That has never been part of the plan. The Search Committee does not have the authority to do that. The Search Committee is a committee of the Board of Trustees and is obligated to render its report to the Board. Once the Board decides how they will relate to the Search Committee report and elects the person who will become the next president, then there will be arrangements made for that person to come to the campus and interact with various groups. This is the pattern that was used years ago when the current president was elected.

I want to reiterate that the Search Committee has worked together very well. It spent time in prayer together seeking the Lord’s guidance. The members listened to one another with courtesy and respect. I also want to express appreciation to the individuals and groups on campus and elsewhere who have prayed for this process. We need to continue our intercessory prayer until the process is totally finished. We are nearing completion.

Benjamin D. Schoun, chair
Andrews University Presidential Search Committee
Andrews University Board of Trustees


December 16, 2015

Update on the Andrews University Presidential Search Process

Dear Andrews University Community:

The third meeting of the Andrews University Presidential Search Committee was held on Monday, November 23, with good attendance. Two attend via phone; only one person was absent out of the 14 members. It turned out to be a lengthy meeting because there was much to discuss.

The first discussion item was a review of a proposed draft of the interview questions that will be used when the committee conducts interviews with the candidates. There were seven categories of questions with two questions proposed in each category, followed by a final capstone question. The categories for the questions included:

  • Adventist Alignment and Spiritual Strengths
  • Strategic Vision
  • Academic Competence
  • Multicultural and Diversity Commitment
  • Courage, Compassion and Communication
  • Ambassador
  • Leadership Style, Skills and Judgment
  • Capstone Question

The questions in each of these categories largely sought examples of things the candidate had actually achieved rather than theoretical and philosophical ideas. Each of the 14 questions plus the capstone question was read and suggestions were offered for revisions to seek clarity, make the question more concrete, include important areas that did not seem to be covered adequately, etc.

Next, the committee reviewed the Presentation Document that will be used to share with the candidates. This document describes Andrews University as an organization, including its mission and the breadth of its service, its recognition by public educational reports, and some of its unique characteristics. It includes material from the Strategic Plan, including the Core Strategic Pillars, Strategic Initiatives and operational Distinctive Strengths. There is a description of the position of University president and the seven attributes (corresponding to the categories for questions mentioned above) that Andrews is seeking in its leader.

There will be a number of attachments to this Presentation Document: Annual Report, Financial Reports, Board Policy Manual, issues of FOCUS, the organizational chart, the Senior Leadership Team at Andrews, and the GC/NAD standing committees of which the Andrews president is a member.

The Search Committee then heard a report on the 14 A-Category names that were contacted and their responses. Seven declined to be considered for various reasons and seven sent their CVs for consideration. Each CV was reviewed and the names were discussed. Several new names that had been recently submitted were considered as well. An informal ballot process selected five names to be interviewed. These individuals will be contacted again to find the best time for interviews. Reference checks will be conducted prior to the interviews. The interviews will be conducted away from the campus. It was stressed again that confidentiality is very important at this stage. We do not want to start rumors that could be embarrassing to individual candidates or hurt them in any way.

As a personal comment, I would like to say, as chairperson of the Search Committee, that the process is going very well. We have a good committee and some good candidates for a very fine university. We can be proud of our school! The Andrews University Board of Trustees will be making the final decision, of course.

At a time like this there are always some uncertainties and some may have a somewhat pessimistic attitude for one reason or another. But take heart! Not only is the Search Committee doing its job diligently, but we truly believe that our Lord is overseeing this process. He will guide through His providence, and by our support we all will be able to help make the new president a great success.

Benjamin D. Schoun, chair
Andrews University Presidential Search Committee
Andrews University Board of Trustees


November 9, 2015

Update on the Andrews University Presidential Search Process

Dear Andrews University Community:

The Search Committee is informing the campus community that one of its members has submitted his resignation. That person is Tom Goodwin, from the Department of Biology. His resignation has been reluctantly accepted. His place will be taken by Karen Allen, from the Department of Nursing, who was selected by the faculty as an alternate should this situation arise. Faculty members who wish to communicate with the Search Committee may either contact Karen, one of the other three faculty members, or send an email to

Benjamin D. Schoun, chair
Andrews University Presidential Search Committee
Andrews University Board of Trustees


November 3, 2015

Update on the Andrews University Presidential Search Process

Dear Andrews University Community:

The second meeting of the Search Committee took place on Thursday, October 22, 2015. The first task undertaken was to review all the lists of characteristics that had come to us from various sources: trustees, the 1994 search process, leadership literature, faculty, staff, senior administration, church leadership, the 2015 search committee, students and other miscellaneous sources. The committee sought to create a prioritized list giving attention to the current needs of the University.

In comparison with past lists the committee noted three new areas that needed to rise in its considerations. First, multicultural and international sensitivities; second, a bridge builder who can negotiate difficult divides in the context of Adventist vision; third, building undergraduate programs and a presence on campus that connects with undergraduate students.

The short list of “essential, basic, required attributes” that the committee outlined is as follows:

       Transformative leadership, as demonstrated by

  1. Strategic vision
  2. Academic experience and standing, understands educational culture and trends, competent in change management
  3. Personal courage and quality of character, compassion, able to communicate
  4. Adventist integrity, spiritual maturity, balance, bridge builder
  5. Embracing multicultural diversity
  6. Ambassador/statesman/promoter—internally and externally
  7. Team builder, collaborator
  8. Good judgment based on experience, values, emotional and social health

The committee then turned to compiling suggested names from its consultation with various groups, such as the trustees, University administrators, faculty, staff, students, General Conference and Division leaders, Lake Union leaders, alumni, as well as the search committee itself. The Search Committee worked to create a diverse pool of qualified prospects. A total of 83 names were collected from various backgrounds: African-American males and females, Caucasian males and females, Hispanic males and females, Africans, Asians and Pacific Islanders.

These names were reviewed one by one in relationship to essential qualifications. Each name was marked with one of four general categories: The “A” category were individuals that the committee wished to pursue further; the “N” category were individuals that the committee saw as neutral at the present and might still be possibilities; the “Q” category were individuals that the search committee had questions about; the “X” category were individuals who did not meet basic essential qualifications.

There were 14 individuals in the “A” category—two African-American males, three African-American females, five Caucasian males, one Caucasian female and three Hispanic males. These individuals will be now contacted to see if they are willing to be considered, willing to supply a curriculum vita to the committee, and willing to participate in an interview if chosen to do so.

This concluded the work of the second meeting of the search committee.

Benjamin D. Schoun, chair
Andrews University Presidential Search Committee
Andrews University Board of Trustees


September 28, 2015

Update on the Andrews University Presidential Search Process

Dear Andrews University Community:

I want to share a brief report on what has happened since Dr. Niels-Erik Andreasen made his announcement in August that he plans to retire in June 2016. The first task was to form a search committee reflecting the governing documents of the University that would begin the important and delicate work of choosing a successor. I want to express again how much we appreciate the 22 years of dedicated service that President Andreasen has given to this institution.

We asked various groups to submit names of individuals that they would like to see on the search committee. These groups included the faculty, staff, students, alumni and, of course, the board. The members of the search committee are as follows:

   Benjamin D. Schoun, chair (chair, Board of Trustees)
   Don Livesay, vice chair (president, Lake Union Conference and vice chair,
       Board of Trustees)
   Dan Jackson (president, North American Division)
   Lisa Beardsley-Hardy (director, Department of Education, General Conference)
   Judith Storfjell (non-church employed retired educator)
   Loren Hamel (non-church employed physician and president of Lakeland Health)
   Tom Goodwin (College of Arts & Sciences)
   Janet Ledesma (School of Education)
   Duane McBride (College of Arts & Sciences)
   Nicholas Miller, secretary, Search Committee (Seventh-day Adventist
       Theological Seminary)
   Elynda Bedney (director, Student Financial Services)
   Maureen Raj (MA in School Counseling candidate, officer of the Graduate
        Student Association)
   Dana Wales (owner, Wales & Associates)
Invitee (with voice, but not vote):
   Artur Stele (nominee for future Board Chair, and VP, General Conference)

This is a total of 13 members, plus one invitee.

The Search Committee had its first meeting this past Thursday, September 24. This was primarily an organizational meeting where the committee reviewed plans for the process we will follow. We also hammered out dates for our future meetings. There is a small group working on criteria for a new president, including preparing interview questions for use when the time comes, and an evaluation instrument that the search committee will use after the interviews, which will be analyzed statistically. Finally, we assigned each of the committee members to consult with the groups they represent to receive input for the search committee regarding characteristics needed in a president, names and other suggestions.

The dates of future search committee meetings, subject to change if necessary, will be: October 22, November 23, January 31–February 1 (interviews) and February 28. The objective of the next meeting on October 22 is to establish basic criteria for a selection and shorten the long list to a medium list. Our overall goal is to have at least two names to recommend to the Board on March 1, 2016. This will give some overlap and transitional time before Dr. Andreasen’s retirement in June.

We are planning to have a website where we will post appropriate information, such as is being shared here, for the campus and public to view. There is also an email address where anyone can send a message to the search committee with suggestions of names or characteristics of a president or needs of the University, etc. That email address is

Don’t try to get detailed information from search committee members. The committee voted an action that “the Chairperson of the Committee is the sole authorized spokesperson for the Committee.” But you can give information to the members of the search committee. In fact, the task between now and our next meeting is to gather criteria and names to make a long list that we will begin screening at the next meeting.

Assignments for consultation with various constituencies were made as follows:
GC and World Divisions—B. Schoun, L. Beardsley-Hardy, A. Stele
North American Division—D. Jackson
Lake Union Conference—D. Livesay
Board of Trustees—J. Storfjell, L. Hamel
AU Administration (VPs and Deans)—D. McBride, N. Miller
AU Faculty—T. Goodwin, J. Ledesma
AU Staff—E. Bedney
AU Students—Maureen Raj
AU Alumni—Dana Wales

In the search committee we studied the highlights of the Bible passages in 1 Samuel, chapters 8–16, where Israel asked for and selected a king. The people wanted Saul because he was tall and looked like a leader. But his heart was not right (see PP 608; 4aSG 67). It wasn’t long before he was rejected by God and God sought a new king. This time Samuel was sent to the house of Jesse.  All the older sons came to meet Samuel, some that even Samuel thought must be the one God would want. But God told Samuel that these were not the ones. Finally, Samuel pressed Jesse whether these were all his sons. Well, there was the youngest, most unlikely candidate out taking care of the flocks. Samuel told Jesse to bring him in. They would not do anything else until he arrived. When he came God spoke to Samuel that this was his chosen one. In this story is that very instructive verse, “People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7 NET)

That is why the Search Committee seeks the guidance and leading of the Lord in our work. God’s chosen may not be the most obvious person or the one who looks like a leader. We must be open to God’s instruction. Please pray for the Search Committee as it continues its work.

Benjamin D. Schoun, chair
Andrews University Presidential Search Committee
Andrews University Board of Trustees