College of DuPage faculty members gave most of the input on the ideal candidate for the school's next president during forums hosted by a search committee Monday night, with few speakers addressing Sunday's stunning resignation of board Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton.
The college scheduled the forums to gather public feedback before a now 17-member committee led by former Illinois House Speaker Lee Daniels begins to sift through applications and pick finalists for the position.
Board Vice Chairwoman Deanne Mazzochi, who will handle the duties of the chairwoman, said she wants to have a discussion with other trustees about filling Hamilton's spot on the search committee.
Its members were tentatively expected to choose three to five finalists in February, and then the board would make the final decision on the hiring in March.
Daniels said the committee will discuss the final timeline with trustees but favors finishing its work by early May.
"To me, it's more important to get it right than to necessarily do at a particular pace," Mazzochi said after attending the first of two forums Monday.
She declined to comment on whether any candidates have stepped forward. Daniels said he isn't aware of any and that applications also are being screened by consultant Robert Dickeson.
Former WFLD-TV Channel 32 reporter Anne Kavanagh moderated the forums and tried to set the tone early, urging speakers to focus on the "future, not the past."
Many of the more than two dozen speakers did just that, with only a few directly referencing former President Robert Breuder, fired by trustees in October, and a "no confidence" vote in his leadership by full-time faculty September 2014.
Faculty members said a new president should have both teaching and administrative experience and a vision for improving student retention and graduation rates.
"If we want to build consensus and if we want to build in trust, the next president probably shouldn't be anybody from our current senior management team," said Julia DiLiberti, a humanities professor.
Jackie McGrath, an English professor and board member of the Illinois Education Association, also said the college should conduct a national search for a president who can build relationships, not just internally, but in the village of Glen Ellyn, with other schools and in Springfield.
Acting interim President Joseph Collins has been overseeing daily operations since April, when Breuder was placed on paid administrative leave amid state and federal investigations into COD's spending and administrative practices.
Trustees fired Breuder roughly five months before he was scheduled to step down. Two other high-ranking administrators also were terminated this fall at COD, Thomas Glaser and Lynn Sapyta.
In a 4-2 vote last month, the board hired an executive search firm, William E. Hay & Co., to help fill the positions of president, chief financial officer, controller and executive vice president of development.
Trustees Joe Wozniak and Dianne McGuire voted against the deal. Trustee Erin Birt was absent from the meeting.
McGuire said at the time the board should solely work to find a new president who would in turn assemble a cabinet of administrators.
• Daily Herald staff writer Robert Sanchez contributed to this report