About the University

Located in the heart of culture-rich Memphis, the University of Memphis is experiencing enormous growth and development — a huge transformation since our founding in 1912. What was once an 80-acre campus serving 300 students has evolved into a top tier public research university on 1,607 acres with 239 buildings and a strong regional reach, including our UofM Lambuth campus in Jackson, Tennessee.

The UofM is ranked among the world’s top universities in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, only one of three to make the list from the State of Tennessee. Never have more UofM academic programs been ranked nationally. During the pandemic, fall 2020 enrollment was 22,205, a 2.4% increase year-over-year from 21,685 the previous fall — the highest number of enrollments for the UofM since 2011. We’re currently the second-largest university in Tennessee and proud to have the largest enrollment percentage increase from fall 2019 to fall 2020 among locally governed institutions in the state.

As a tier 2 research-intensive institution, we have accelerated our efforts to achieve Carnegie R1 status and feel confident that reaching our goal is imminent. UofM students represent 82 different countries across the globe and 50% of undergrads are students of color, making the UofM a highly diverse campus that embraces different cultures and backgrounds. Community engagement drives the UofM to promote innovation in the Memphis region with a multi-faceted approach to economic development that encourages novel engagements with faculty, students and community. With an operating budget of $600 million and an independent Board of Trustees, the UofM has the freedom, flexibility and outside expertise to move forward in unparalleled fashion. The UofM has 1,031 full-time faculty and 564 adjunct faculty, more than 4,400 employees total including graduate assistants.

The Position

The University of Memphis Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee seek a President who will continue to move the UofM forward as a growing urban public research university. Building on current successes in the areas of enhancing its national presence and rankings, financial positioning and improving student and faculty outcomes, the President is expected to be an innovative leader who can continue to propel the university forward.

The President of the University of Memphis is the chief executive officer responsible for furthering a vision for the campus that is consistent with its mission. The next President must have professional qualifications and personal characteristics that embody UofM’s growth-oriented mission and aspirations. In addition to an earned doctorate or terminal degree in a related field and executive leadership experience demonstrating the ability to lead a large, complex institution, it is preferred candidates have the following qualifications:

  • Visionary, inspirational leadership with the strategic agility to lead through one of the most exciting and transformative eras in the University’s history.
  • A commitment to deep engagement with the community and the University’s vital role in the City of Memphis, State of Tennessee and globally.
  • Passion for the student-centered mission of the University and an understanding of undergraduate, graduate, international and professional student interests and needs.
  • Vision to engage the entire campus community to foster growth of the academic and creative enterprises, expand research opportunities and maintain the highest standards of quality and academic excellence.
  • Experience in advancing research, innovation, partnerships and expenditures to reach and sustain the University’s drive toward Carnegie R1 research status.
  • A willingness to cultivate international partnerships to expand research, program development and faculty/student exchange opportunities.
  • A track record of effectively recruiting, selecting and developing a top notch leadership team.
  • Strong understanding of the ever-changing/post pandemic market of higher education.
  • Demonstrated success developing proactive, creative solutions to challenges.
  • Fiscal acumen with demonstrated success in navigating shifting financial landscapes.
  • Commitment to fostering a climate of respect and high morale among faculty and staff with a commitment to shared governance.
  • Record of leadership in promoting equity, enhancing diversity in all its forms, which includes creating a cohesive, collaborative and inclusive culture.
  • Ability to develop collaborative and effective relationships with a full range of external constituents, such as alumni, donors, members of the community, legislators and other government officials to secure resources from state, federal, corporate, foundation and private entities.
  • Interpersonal skills to partner and work effectively with both the UofM Board of Trustees, Tennessee Higher Education Commission and other governmental bodies.
  • Ability to lead improvement of academic performance, with particular success in improving retention and graduation rates and increasing student success outcomes.
  • A commitment to and understanding of the value of a strong Division I intercollegiate athletic program and the academic success of our student-athletes.
  • A commitment to a robust arts community.
  • High ethical standards and excellent communication skills.

Application Process

The UofM Board of Trustees invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, complete CV, and references) or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the Board. Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to August 23, 2021: 

Laurie C. Wilder, President
Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Parker Executive Search Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2875 Atlanta, GA 30328
lwilder@parkersearch.com  || pwilliams@parkersearch.com
Phone: 770-804-1996 x 109

Equal Employment & Institutional Equity
The University of Memphis does not discriminate against students, employees, or applicants for admission or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or any other legally protected class with respect to all employment, programs and activities sponsored by the University of Memphis.

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