Experts: The Search For A College President Can Be Challenging

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The search is officially over. Tufts University announced Tuesday that renowned geneticist and 51-year-old Anthony Monaco will be the school's a new president.

Monaco will replace Lawrence Bacow, who is stepping down after a decade at the Tufts helm. Monaco is currently a top administrator and genetics professor at the University of Oxford, and has done breakthrough research on various neurological disorders.

Tufts says it received a lot of applications for the job, but that doesn't necessarily mean the school had a lot of options.

Experts in the field say it's difficult these days to find a person with the right chops to be a college president.

Stephen Trachtenberg specializes in education at the executive search firm Korn/Ferry International in Washington, D.C. He says it's always been hard to recruit would-be college presidents, but it's even more difficult now, since people from "logical positions" — provosts and vice presidents — are declining to be presidents.

"They see that it's a contact sport — being a president — and they have more pleasure and less pain by being a dean or vice president than they would as a president," Trachtenberg says.

Trachtenberg joined WBUR's Bob Oakes during Tuesday's Morning Edition to explain the headhunting process for potential college presidents.

This program aired on November 30, 2010.

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Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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