Presidential search costs more than $133,000


Graphic: Kelsey Kremer/Iowa State Daily

Cost of the presidential search

Paige Godden

The search for the new Iowa State President cost more than $133,000.

A 108 page document, full of receipts from hotel stays and travel expenses, from Parker Executive Search, was released to the Daily through the Board of Regents on Tuesday.

The document indicates that almost $7,000 was spent on advertising, close to $9,000 on consultant travel, $8,400 on candidate travel and $13,700 was spent on interview expense.

Another $10,600 was spent on hotel rooms and parking from when the search committee interviewed applicants in Minneapolis.

Erica Smith, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate and member of the search committee, said the costs for the search were outlined from the beginning.

Smith said Parker Search Executives charged $90,000 for their services as well as travel costs, the costs of interviewing candidates, and the costs to bring candidates to campus.

“This was my first time partaking in a search committee… . Therefore, I am unaware of what our fellow land-grant universities typically spend on their presidential searches. This would be a good comparison, and I would guess that we spent comparable amounts if not less than our peers. The only comparison I currently have is to University of Iowa’s search with costs an excess of $300,000,” Smith said.

Steven Freeman, president of the Faculty Senate and a member of the search committee, said he is not surprised by the cost.

“Executive level searches are expensive — but the goal is to find the best candidate to lead the university for the next decade,” according to Freeman. “Assuming that President Leath will be successful, this was money well spent.”

Dakota Hoben, president of the Government of the Student Body and a also member of the search committee, said he was not sure how much presidential searches cost on average, but he also was not surprised by the number.

“When seeing the total that ISU spent, I was not surprised by the amount. I fully understood that these searches are not cheap and that we went to great lengths to keep costs down,” Hoben said. “This was the reason we did interviews in Minneapolis as opposed to Des Moines.”

Labh Hira, dean of the College of Business and co-chairman of the search committee, said, “I have never been involved in such a search before. So I did not know what to expect. But given the complexity of the search and level of the position, it appears quite reasonable.”

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Iowa spent $314,000 choosing Sally Mason in 2007.

The ISU presidential search lasted four months and had 104 nominations for the job.

The Iowa Board of Regents has previously stated that Leath will be reimbursed for moving expenses, as well.