Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council on Postsecondary Education

Press Release Date:  Thursday, April 17, 2008  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
Cell: 502-330-6596

     The Council appreciates the Governor’s interest in the presidential selection process, and believes that it has complied with both the spirit and letter of the law.

     The Council conducted a thorough and exhaustive national search and selected a candidate who satisfied the qualifications sought for the permanent position. In December 2006, following the announcement by President Tom Layzell of his intention to retire, the Council began a national search for its third permanent president. The Council engaged Academic Search, Inc., an executive search consultant with extensive experience in higher education. The Council’s search committee reviewed the resumes of over 60 candidates and conducted interviews with eight individuals.

     The Council determined the search did not yield a suitable permanent presidential candidate, so on July 16, 2007, it formed a committee to select an interim president. The Council contracted with Brad Cowgill to serve as interim from September 1, 2007 through April 30, 2008. The cost of the search between December 2006 and July 2007 was $96,300. Nothing in the law that I am aware of requires that the hiring of an interim terminates the search or requires that it be restarted.

     Ultimately, the Council determined that an expensive, duplicative national search for a successor to Tom Layzell would not necessarily yield the best-equipped leader for the Council during the crucial upcoming biennium, nor would it be in the best interests of the Council or the state’s system of postsecondary and adult education.

     As Governor Beshear notes in his letter, the law does include language related to the qualifications of the president, including an excellent academic and administrative background, strong communication skills, significant experience, and an established reputation as a professional in the field of postsecondary education.

     However, the statute confers authority to the Council to set the qualifications for the president and to identify in its judgment the best candidate for the position. Based on Mr. Cowgill’s strong
performance over the past seven months, as well as the specific skills and qualities he brings to
the position, the Council determined that he indeed meets the qualifications of the Council
president. He has a deep knowledge of Kentucky public policy, has demonstrated superior
communications skills, and possesses a passionate commitment to the goals of postsecondary
education reform.

     The Council has selected a proven leader in Brad Cowgill who has the skills, vision, and energy to move the state’s ambitious higher education reform goals forward.

     Attached to this statement is an April 15 letter from Chairman Turner to Governor Beshear
regarding the Council’s presidential search.
Updated 4/16/2008 6:31:48 PM


Kentucky is in the middle of the most dramatic economic and social transformation in its history. Double the Numbers: Kentucky’s Plan to Increase College Graduates explains that increasing bachelor’s degrees is the quickest, most direct way for Kentucky to increase its economic prosperity. College graduates earn more, are healthier, create a more robust economy, and enjoy a higher quality of life. The Double the Numbers plan outlines five statewide strategies for Kentucky to achieve this ambitious, but achievable goal. While this effort will not be easy, the benefits of Doubling the Numbers will be felt by all Kentuckians.


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Last Updated 4/18/2008