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Spring 2021

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Presidential Search

letter from search committee chair saragoni

March 10, 2021

Dear MassArt Community:

As the Board of Trustees’ Presidential Search Committee is about to reach an important milestone, I’m eager to give you an update on the committee’s progress from its September launch to today. Here is an overview of our process thus far and anticipated next steps, in keeping with Board of Higher Education (BHE) presidential search guidelines.

During the fall, we conducted listening sessions with stakeholders and shared a survey inviting feedback from the campus community, and developed a leadership profile that describes our ideal candidate and our priorities for the next president.

Throughout this winter, we have been hard at work recruiting a highly qualified and diverse pool of candidates to be considered for the College’s next president. Thank you to those who provided our search firm WittKieffer with your suggestions and nominations for outreach.

The position was advertised in 10 outlets, including the Chronicle of Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook, as well as art and design industry spaces such as AICAD, Mass Cultural Council, and the National Art Education Association.

The committee members reviewed the 42 applications received and were excited by the caliber of the candidate pool. From those applications, we selected 11 candidates for first-round interviews, which were conducted over the past two months. 

By the end of March, the Presidential Search Committee will have deliberated and voted to recommend three candidates to the Board of Trustees, which will complete the work of the Committee. At that point, the search moves into the hands of the Board of Trustees, and the names of the finalists become public.

Once the finalists become public, an important goal is for all of you, as members of the MassArt community, to meet them and share your observations and feedback with the Board of Trustees.

In April we will host virtual MassArt community meetings with the finalists and gather your feedback. We also plan to hold at least one virtual meeting before then in preparation for the finalist visits for search committee members to further describe our work on the committee and answer questions about the process. We will share the details of these important MassArt community meetings within the next few days. 

Thank you for your ongoing support and engagement with the Presidential Search Committee and Board of Trustees as we work together to secure a new leader for MassArt.


Janice M. Saragoni, M.P.A.
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Chair, MassArt Board of Trustees


View the Presidential Profile

The Search Committee encourages interested individuals and members of the MassArt community to submit confidential nominations or applications to WittKieffer at

presidential search committee members

Jan Saragoni, Chair (BOT)
Georgia Bell (SGA)
Ruth Bradshaw (AFSME)
Catarina Coelho (APA)
Sondra Grace (MSCA)
Winifred Hagen (BHE)
John Intoppa (BOT)
Adriana Katzew (MSCA)
Karen Keane (BOT)
Howard LaRosee (NUP)
Deirdre Nectow (Foundation)
Lyssa Palu-ay (JET)
Aretha Pereira (SGA)
Xavia Hill Prater (SGA)
Soon-Mi Yoo (MSCA)

professional staff to the search (non-voting)

Alisa Chapman
Affirmative Action Representative

Susana Segat
Liaison to the Committee

Katie Westerlind
Secretary to the Committee

Gina Yarbrough
General Counsel

Board of Trustees Charge to the Presidential Search Committee
  • With the help of Massachusetts College of Art and Design community and search firm, prepare a statement of desired presidential characteristics necessary to realize those opportunities and challenges.

  • Conduct an active, national and even international search to attract a diverse pool of highly qualified candidates.

  • Serve as ambassadors for Massachusetts College of Art and Design in energetically promoting the institution’s strengths and values.

  • Work in partnership with the search firm to organize and implement the search process, including communications with candidates and references, maintenance of records, and arrangements for interviews.

  • Maintain absolute confidentiality concerning the names of candidates and discussions within the Committee throughout the search and beyond. 

  • Make regular reports to the Board and to members of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design community about the progress of the search process while maintaining confidentiality about candidates.

  • If appropriate and possible within candidates’ need for confidentiality, organize a process for introducing final candidates to the Massachusetts College of Art and Design community and Board of Trustees and collect feedback from candidates' visits to inform the committee's decision.  

  • Recommend to the Board three final candidates, unranked, with substantiation of the Committee’s conclusions that the candidate(s) meet the criteria originally set forth