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Procedure Title:
Presidential Search, Guidelines for Conducting

Document Number:

Effective Date:
June 22, 2016

This procedure item applies to:
State-Operated Campuses

Table of Contents

Related Procedures
Other Related Information


The legal authority to appoint the president or chief administrative officer of a State-operated institution of the State University of New York (SUNY) is vested in the Board of Trustees of SUNY (SUNY Trustees) by Section 355(2)(g) of the Education Law. The College Council of each such institution is given responsibility for recommending a candidate or candidates to the SUNY Trustees by Section 356(3)(a). (Section 6004 (c) gives this same power to the Trustees of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry.) The SUNY Trustees may also appoint a president or chief administrative officer in the event that no council recommendation is made, or where a council recommendation fails to comply with the SUNY Trustees’ standards and procedures.

The SUNY Trustees considers the selection of campus presidents to be one of the most important of its duties. The procedures below are intended to assist the College Councils of State-operated institutions in the search for, and nomination of, individuals to fill the position of president. It should be noted that the term “College Council” in the following is intended to refer equally to the Board of Trustees of the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

This procedure is intended to provide a set of guidelines that should be utilized to conduct presidential searches. Recognizing the great diversity of size, scope and mission of the campuses in the SUNY system, the specific search process at an individual campus may be modified as described in this document by the SUNY Chancellor in consultation with the campus Council Chair.


Campus Presidential Search

A. Preliminary Steps in the Search Process

B. The Search Process

C. Representational Searches

D. Selection Process

E. Board of Trustees Approval

F. Post Search Evaluation

Once a search has been completed, it is recommended that the SUNY Office of Presidential Searches and Leadership, in consultation with the College Council, administer an evaluation to the search committee, all candidates that were invited to the off-site interviews, and the selected candidate. The evaluation should be considered a tool for the System and College Council to understand how the process went, review of the search firm and consultant used, and what they should learn from the search that should be remembered for future searches.

G. Reopened Searches

Should the Chancellor or the Board of Trustees decide that the circumstances warrant the reopening of a search, it is within their discretion to require that the Council Chair appoint, in accordance with these guidelines, a new search committee.

H. Internal Candidates

Should anyone from within the campus community wish to apply for the presidency, that individual must do so by way of a formal application prior to the closing date for the receipt of nominations. Any such internal candidate who does not formally apply for the position and participate in the entire search process will not be considered for the position. Interim Presidents may not be candidates for the presidency unless they have received the written permission of the Chancellor to participate as candidates.

[1] The SUNY Office of Presidential Searches and Leadership shall track the efforts of search firms in developing of diverse candidate pools to fill presidential vacancies and share this information, as appropriate, with campuses. The Office will also provide each selected search firm with a copy of the Board Resolution policy on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as the system and campus diversity plans. 

[2] The search committee should consult with the campus purchasing office to ensure that all state and SUNY rules and regulations are followed regarding the contracting of the search firm. 

[3] Per the SUNY Board of Trustees Resolution policy on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, adopted on September 10, 2015, each SUNY campus is required to appoint a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) no later than August 15, 2017. In the event of a position vacancy or this position has not yet been filled, the SUNY CDO (or designee) shall be invited to meet with the search committee.


There are no forms relevant to this procedure.

Related Procedures

Procedure Doc. 2501. - Guidelines for Presidential Searches for Community Colleges

Other Related Information

The State University of New York Guide to Presidential Searches at State-Operated Institutions, June 22, 2016. [Guidelines in PDF Format].

Employment Searches Guidance, Legal Issues Surrounding Employment Applications, guidance prepared by the Office of General Counsel, 2013.


SUNY Board of Trustees Resolution 2016-37, Amendments to the Guidelines for Conducting Presidential Searches for State-Operated Campuses, June 22, 2016.

NYS Education Law §355(2)(g) (Powers and duties of trustees--administrative and fiscal functions).

NYS Education Law 356(3)(a) (Councils of state-operated institutions; powers and duties).

NYS Education Law §6004 (College Board of Trustees; powers and duties).

State University of New York Policies of the Board of Trustees, June 2014.


The guidelines were approved by the State University of New York Board of Trustees effective January 25, 2012 and revised May 4, 2016, and passed via Board Resolution on June 22, 2016.

Executive Search and Recruitment Service Contracts – Memorandum to community college presidents/business officers, state-operated campuses business officers/purchasing agents from the assistant vice chancellor for business services, dated December 17, 2001.


SUNY Guide to Presidential Searches at State-Operated Institutions

[document included as a part of the Resolution that adopted the updated guidelines on June 22, 2016]