Illinois State University (Illinois State) seeks a visionary and forward-thinking leader to join its thriving campus community to serve as its next president.

 Founded in 1857, Illinois State is the oldest public university in the state. Located in Normal, 125 miles southwest of Chicago, Illinois State hosts a diverse community of scholars committed to fostering a small college atmosphere with large university opportunities. Illinois State's mission is based on a shared set of core values: Learning and Scholarship, Diversity and Inclusion, Respect, Collaboration, Individualized Attention, Civic Engagement, and Integrity. Students at Illinois State find rigorous academic programs that challenge them to be their best and a welcoming and supportive campus atmosphere that helps them grow and mature as scholars, global citizens, and leaders. It has a total enrollment of 20,989 students (18,450 undergraduate and 2,539 graduate) situated on a 1,111-acre campus.

As a Carnegie Classified R2 institution, Illinois State University has developed into a multipurpose university with degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Six colleges, including the College of Applied Sciences and Technology, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, Mennonite College of Nursing, and the Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts currently offer approximately 174 undergraduate majors, 76 minors, 97 master’s programs, 17 doctoral degrees, and 40 certificate options. The newly formed College of Engineering plans on offering 3 undergraduate majors as the University’s seventh college beginning in fall 2025. One of 12 public universities in Illinois, the alumni base has grown to more than 230,000. All initiatives are guided by  Educate • Connect • Elevate: Illinois State – The Strategic Plan for Illinois’ First Public University 2018-2023.

Reporting to the Illinois State University Board of Trustees, the next president will be expected to provide forward-thinking and visionary leadership across an institution with a strong reputation for culture of collaboration and teamwork. The president will build productive working relationships with faculty, staff, and students within a robust shared governance environment that supports and encourages open dialogue, communication, and diverse viewpoints. Moreover, the president should support the growth and further development of the academic enterprise while considering new programs that will be critical for the institution's ongoing sustainability and success. As one of the largest employers in the Bloomington-Normal region, the president will serve as the public face of the university with a focus on generating partnerships and support from alumni, donors, and the local business community. The president should be highly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and demonstrate leadership by advancing a culture of open communication, transparency, and dialogue on key issues and challenges of social impact and importance.

 The president will be an experienced and knowledgeable administrator with a track record of success leading organizations of Illinois State's size and complexity. The president should be deeply experienced in advancing student and academic success initiatives, including graduation and retention rates. Like many of Illinois State's peers, food insecurities, tuition and housing costs, transportation issues, and other basic needs are among the challenges facing students. The incoming president should be experienced at identifying resources to support programs and activities that address these and other student needs and concerns. The president must also be a consummate relationship builder and community-minded individual who has a strong desire to become highly visible and active both internally across campus and externally with donors, alumni, business executives, community leaders, and federal and state congressional delegations. A strong capacity for fundraising will be important, as well as management of large, complex budgets and experience with collective bargaining. A record of scholarship and a doctoral degree is preferred.


 Procedure for Candidacy

 The Board of Trustees of Illinois State University 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 University. 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 January 10, 2024:

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

This document is available in alternative formats upon request by contacting Human Resources at (309) 438-7487.

Illinois State University, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding affirmative action, nondiscrimination, and anti-harassment. Illinois State University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, order of protection, gender identity and expression, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, genetic information, unfavorable military discharge, or status as a veteran in employment, educational programs and activities, or admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed by contacting the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access by email at, by calling (309) 438-3383, or by mail at Illinois State University, Campus Box 1280, Normal, IL 61790.