Humber board announces search committee to recruit next president

Nov 19, 2021 | Campus News, Headlines, News

The search is on for a new president for Humber College.

Humber’s Board of Governors announced on Nov. 12 that a dedicated search committee was being formed to find Humber’s fifth president and chief executive officer.

The move came after a month of searching had already been conducted to identify a replacement for retiring Humber President Chris Whitaker.

“The 11-person committee includes representatives from key college constituencies, including students, alumni, support staff, faculty and administrators,” said Ana Fernandez, chair of the Board of Governors.

The search committee is a welcome addition for the Humber faculty union, OPSEU Local 562, which has been wanting such a panel to add representation from different groups at Humber.

Humber College President and CEO Chris Whitaker, centre, seen here with Maureen Carnegie and Thomas Wilcox-Childs opening of new LGBTQ+ resource centre at Humber College’s North campus. A search committee has been formed to find a replacement for Whitaker, who is retiring.
Humber College President Chris Whitaker, centre, seen here at the opening of the LGBTQ+ Resource Centre at Humber’s North campus in 2015. A search committee has been formed to find a replacement for Whitaker, who is retiring. PHOTO CREDIT/MAHNOOR YAWAR

The search committee gathers data from employees and a recruiting agency to provide recommended candidates for the post. It has committed to regular updates to keep the Humber community informed of its progress.

For Miloš Vasić, president of the local faculty union, it is a positive sign of inclusiveness and transparency, though he was not without some skepticism.

“They’ve got a track record of basically telling us what’s happening, with kind of superficial inputs,” Vasić said.

“Now there is a search committee involved and an outside agency. Maybe there can be more transparency and consultation with the Humber community,” he said.

There is also hope for greater diversity in the top job at Humber, where presidents have traditionally been white males.

Diversity as a goal will need to be championed by the next president, Vasić said.

He cited the Ontario College of Art and Design as an example.

“They got a new president, someone that took equity and diversity seriously,” Vasić said. “Things changed drastically. They started doing cluster hires instead of just hiring one or two Indigenous profs, they hired entire clusters of them.”

Vasić said this is the kind of change and inclusivity the faculty union would like to see adopted by Humber.

The college is using the services of recruiting company Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette to assist in the search.

The inclusion of a staff survey, conducted by KBRS, will gauge the college staff’s views and recommendations for the new president. It will be a forum through which staff can be honest about what they want to see change with a new president.

“A survey was sent out, and that’s what I really like about this,” Vasić said. “We’re encouraging everyone to participate in and flood the survey to share what they want to see.”