Ryerson recently completed a Presidential search. Many people in and around the campus refer to this effort as a failed search as no successor to Sheldon Levy was found. There is no end to the blame being distributed inside and outside our campus. I hear whispers how the search firm and the search committee are responsible for Sheldon returning to his 13th floor Jorgenson Hall office for up to twenty-four months. The only question seems to be who deserves what percentage of the blame.
In reality, there is nothing failed about this search, and we “Ryersonians” owe everybody involved a big thank you. While the process and deliberations underlying this search are as always strictly confidential, rumors abound as to what occurred during the 18-months. It is curious how almost everybody with whom I speak has a theory as to what transpired. Only a few people honestly know what happened, and that group of committee members respect confidentiality, which credits their professionalism, and maintains the sanctity of the search.
Ryerson must locate a successor to Sheldon who will continue to foster his growth-based model of leadership. I would argue the next President must maintain the vision and drive, which led Sheldon to building Ryerson University into its present model, but that may be impossible to replicate.
If the search committee believes – for any reason(s) – the right person for the job was not available; having Sheldon return for a “victory lap” is the optimal outcome. Not to sound like an economics professor, but any job market activity is a matching game, and in rare cases, demand and supply do not reach equilibrium. However, a disequilibrium solution is not always a bad thing. Or, if you prefer popular sports analogies, sometimes the best trade for a particular team is the one not made.
The more I teach, the more I learn…