University of Southern Indiana

Position Profile

University Center

The Position

The University of Southern Indiana seeks a visionary and effective leader to enhance and further the academic programs and initiatives of a growth-minded institution; support faculty development and aspirations; work with an engaged student body that has a strong work ethic; collaborate with other institutions of higher education within Indiana as well as citizens, community leaders, and local officials for the advancement of the University and the region; and work with legislators and others to help advocate for the University.

As the leader and chief executive officer of the University, the President exercises broad responsibilities for all aspects of the institution, and serves as its chief representative externally. The President reports directly to the Board of Trustees, a group of nine trustees appointed by the Governor of the State of Indiana. The President oversees the preparation of the University's annual budget and the allocation of resources for University purposes, makes policy decisions with respect to the mission, plans, and development of the University, and is responsible for promoting the University and representing its interests among its various constituencies.

The President has seven direct reports and convenes a group of University Officers composed of the following:

  • Provost
  • Vice President for Enrollment Management
  • Vice President for Development
  • Vice President for Finance and Administration
  • Vice President for Government and University Relations

The ideal candidate will have, among other qualities:

  • outstanding leadership and management experience;
  • a demonstrated commitment and appreciation for the values, traditions, and mission of the University of Southern Indiana;
  • a strong record of intellectual accomplishments;
  • strong communication skills;
  • a strong record of financial management and strategic planning;
  • a broad understanding of liberal arts education and professional programs;
  • skills to lead initiatives to maintain and enhance the academic stature of the University;
  • demonstrated experience and leadership in fundraising across a diverse donor base;
  • a commitment to innovation and creativity;
  • a strong record of teambuilding and collaborative leadership at all levels;
  • evidence of successful interactions with governing boards;
  • the ability to work within a complex State system of higher education;
  • the ability to forge strong partnerships with community leaders and businesses;
  • a demonstrated record of building and maintaining an atmosphere of transparency and collegiality;
  • a record of achievement in strengthening and infusing diversity in his or her current operation;
  • a demonstrated understanding and commitment to internationalization and globalization through support for international programs and international students; and
  • a respect for faculty, staff and student ideas, input and decisions.

Additionally, this candidate will:

  • have the highest integrity;
  • be a strategic and visionary thinker;
  • be an articulate and inspiring communicator; and
  • have energy, passion, and an abiding sense of humor.

A terminal degree is preferred, but not required.

Challenges and Opportunities

The University of Southern Indiana is a thriving institution with highly regarded academic programs, a long history of a strong student-focused culture, a community of active teachers and scholars, and a record of commitment to its community and region. The University of Southern Indiana faces both challenges and opportunities over the near-term as it seeks to sustain and further strengthen programs and services for its students and the wider community.

 Raising the Profile of the University. USI’s role as a regional leader in higher education has positioned the University for greater opportunities, yet the University is not as well-known statewide or nationally as it should be. The next President will be expected to determine an appropriate strategy to raise the profile and reputation of the University both regionally and nationally.  This strategy must also be coordinated with continued efforts to strengthen partnerships and relationships at the state level – particularly with the legislature and the Commission for Higher Education. 

 Maintaining a Strong Campus Culture. At the University of Southern Indiana, an open campus culture is highly valued; dialogue and debate, a commitment to shared governance, communication, collaboration, and access and interaction serve as the foundation for a unified vision for the University. The President and entire administration will have an opportunity and responsibility to model and strengthen these values through existing and new models.

 Strengthening Relations with Alumni. The University’s commitment to the future is in part dependent upon support of past students.  The incoming President should strengthen existing relationships with alumni, particularly through the University’s Alumni Association, as well as seek and establish new partnerships that will be mutually beneficial. The University’s alumni are extremely supportive; however, more can be done to improve alumni interaction and involvement.

 Diversifying Resources. Despite the fact that Indiana is the envy of most regarding funding for higher education, the University of Southern Indiana has experienced a decline in the tax-supported share of its operating budget, and has limited control over tuition rates and limited ability to set student fees. Therefore, the new President will need to be a financial advocate for the University, finding ways to maintain and improve the quality of programs through strong legislative advocacy, energetic fundraising with alumni and other donors, the development of other resources through community and economic development, greater internal efficiencies and creative marshaling of campus finances. In partnership with the University of Southern Indiana Foundation, the new President has the opportunity to build upon the successful recent track record of fundraising and advancement.  The new President will benefit from a positive spirit of entrepreneurship within the University to help address these challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.

 Maintaining and Improving Program Excellence. The University has gained a reputation for excellence in student learning, teaching, and scholarship.  Every effort must be made to ensure that excellence remains the focal point in all aspects of the University.  Increased enrollment, retention, and more visible national recognition can only be accomplished if the academic culture and student focus remain at the center of USI’s commitment.  The President must articulate a vision that can: unite the campus, communicate the University’s values, and effectively advocate for the resources and staffing necessary to sustain the energetic momentum and to maintain excellence.

 Building upon Existing Strengths and Developing New Programs. The new President will help guide the discussion regarding supporting systematic growth in existing programs and new program development as well as new modes of delivery. In addition, the President will have the opportunity to strengthen an academic model of education that integrates the liberal arts, social and natural sciences, and professional programs, including an expansion of its flourishing graduate curriculum. In fall, 2017, the University welcomed the largest number of graduate students in its 52-year history. The enrollment for its masters and doctoral programs was 1,308 – a 22.5 percent increase over the previous year.

 Managing Growth. With the expected growth in the enrollment of USI to approximately 15,000 students by 2025, per the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, the next President, working with the board, university leadership, faculty, and staff, will be tasked with balancing the opportunity for growth with the need to maintain what is unique and exceptional about the institution. 

 Communication. The University’s relative size and diversity of programs have always been strengths, both internally and externally. In addressing new issues as well as old, it is important for the President to continue to play an active, engaged, and transparent role with the faculty, staff, and students within the University and to engage the campus community – empowering all levels of the University in order to understand and address institutional goals. The President will need to successfully represent the entire University community effectively within the Greater Evansville area and beyond, while working cooperatively with University faculty, staff, students and administrators.

 Demographics and Enrollment Management. Consistent with many other campuses, the University of Southern Indiana is in a region that will undergo population declines within the traditional-age cohort for several years. Additionally, competition for students has grown. The University is committed to growing enrollment and while admission and retention profiles have been stable, the campus must further build on this promising foundation to further strengthen and support a student-focused model in the years ahead and more effectively represent the University more aggressively in the markets of northern Indiana, eastern Illinois, western Kentucky, and beyond.

 Performance-based Funding. The State of Indiana has a system of performance-based funding for public institutions, the primary focus of the current metrics being degree completion, student persistence, and on-time graduation. The new President  must ensure that academic programs and enrollment management strategies are in alignment with the performance-based funding metrics and statewide educational attainment goals.                                                          

 Strengthening Diversity. The University of Southern Indiana has made a strong commitment to diversity and values the gains it has made. Enhanced ethnic, religious, racial, economic, and gender diversity needs to be encouraged in the recruitment of students, faculty, and staff. Achieving understanding and acceptance of fully integrated diversity is valued and is part of the strategic plan. Further progress in these areas will require sustained and vigorous commitment from the entire University community to deeply integrate the diversity goals into personal and institutional development, teaching, scholarship, service, and global collaborations.  The President will need to look at ways to enhance diversity, including international recruitment efforts which offer the opportunity to further diversify the campus.

 Embracing Shared Governance. The administration, faculty, staff, and students are committed to working together collaboratively to continually improve all aspects of the University. The University not only has a commitment to shared governance, but its structures and processes give evidence to a strong culture of collaboration. The administration works with the Faculty Senate, Administrative Senate, Staff Council, and Student Government Association in the development of policies and in decision making at a variety of levels. Working effectively with various constituent groups to ensure mutual respect, participation, and cooperation is critical to the future growth and development of the University.  

 Community Service and Engagement.  Beyond its institutional value as an economic and cultural resource, the University of Southern Indiana – a Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged University – has taken a number of proactive steps to lead and partner with economic and educational initiatives both within its immediate region and beyond. Through its office of Outreach and Engagement, innovative programs include Historic New Harmony, a unified program of USI and the Indiana Division of State Museums and Historic Sites, USI @ Innovation Pointe, Evansville’s high-tech incubator, among others. The University promotes personal growth, business development, and economic revitalization in the community. The new President will have the opportunity to lead efforts to build upon and further deepen ties, with attention to such issues as the changing economy and in finding new ways to meet the educational needs of its community and region.

Applications and Nominations

The Application Process: The position will remain open until filled. For best consideration, interested applicants should submit a cover letter addressing how they meet the qualifications, a current vitae, and a list of five references by January 15, 2018. References will not be contacted without prior approval by the applicant. Background checks will be conducted on all finalists invited to campus. Candidates from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. Materials should be submitted electronically (MS Word preferred) to Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates.

All applications and nominations shall be confidential. Requests for information and all written applications and nominations should be directed to:

Steve Leo, Partner

Matthew Bunting, Managing Associate

Brian Bustin, Associate

Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, LP


 The University of Southern Indiana is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer that values diversity, respects differences, and provides a sense of belonging and inclusion.


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