Update on the AUBG Presidential Search and Appointment Process | April 16, 2020
Dear Members of the AUBG Community,
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it dramatically. The entire AUBG community including faculty, staff, students and alumni, are no exception. We could not be prouder of how the entire team on campus reacted quickly and decisively to respond to the myriad of crises presented by the pandemic during the past months. The challenges of making sure all students, faculty and staff are safe, providing support to students as nearly all of them had to move off-campus, supporting faculty as they began to hold classes on line, and disappointing graduates and their parents who looked forward to graduation celebrations have all involved difficult decisions. The Board of Trustees is tremendously grateful and proud of the efforts of every one of you to adjust to this unprecedented situation with professionalism, creativity and a positive attitude. It shows the true AUBG spirit that makes this institution unique and resilient.
We must, however, face the prospect that the COVID-19 situation will likely continue to disrupt our lives in profound ways for some months to come. Given this stark reality, the AUBG Board of Trustees has also had to make some difficult decisions, including facing the fact that we needed to temporarily suspend the search for a permanent President of AUBG. We want to make certain the entire AUBG community understands the reasoning behind the Board’s decisions in a transparent and frank way.
Suspended Search for New Permanent President
As many of you know, a search for AUBG’s next permanent President has been underway since October 2019. In accordance with best practice, an AUBG search committee made up of faculty, staff, students, alumni and board representatives has worked hard over the past six months to identify and review a pool of candidates with the help of a professional higher education executive search firm based in Boston. We were pleased that over 60 candidates submitted their resumes and letters of application in response to the position description. The search consultants screened the applicants before presenting the fourteen most qualified candidates to the committee for their consideration. The AUBG search committee then reviewed selected resumes and narrowed the field to seven highly qualified candidates. Thereafter, the AUBG search committee interviewed those candidates remotely and identified a smaller pool of finalists with strong backgrounds.
Under the original plan, finalist candidates were to be invited to campus in April to meet with constituent groups. Based on feedback from the AUBG community, the search committee would then have needed to submit an unranked list of the top recommended candidates, from which the board would make the ultimate decision about whom to hire. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made these on-campus visits impossible. The AUBG search committee also considered the feasibility of “virtual campus visits” by finalists. But, even if such an approach were workable, it is the Board of Trustees that has the authority under its By-laws to actually approve and hire a new permanent President. It is important for the AUBG community to understand that our current By-Laws (available on the AUBG website) provide that the Board of Trustees must meet in person to approve a new permanent President. Unfortunately, remote meeting of the Board of Trustees by teleconference or videoconference to take such action is not a solution under either the By-laws or Bulgarian law.
It was clear that that, given the State of Emergency in Bulgaria, the restrictions on travel and border controls, it would not be possible to convene an in-person Board meeting before June 30, 2020, when Interim President Dr. David R. Evans’s contract is due to end. In addition, it is also unclear when the Board of Trustees will be able to hold an in-person meeting. Therefore, the Board of Trustees had no choice but to suspend the current presidential search until a time when candidates can be brought to campus for a proper community interview process and the Board of Trustees can meet in person to make a legally binding appointment of a new permanent President. 1 Georgi Izmirliev Sq, 2700 Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, www.aubg.edu
Extension of Term of Dr. Evans until June 30, 2021
It is also abundantly clear that AUBG must have a President during these difficult and unpredictable times. The Board of Trustees strongly believes that AUBG needs a solid proven leader who knows the challenges the institution is facing right now, so as to better meet the difficulties the coming year will undoubtedly bring. In view of the extraordinary circumstances and the State of Emergency in Bulgaria, the Board, after consulting with law firms in Bulgaria, and having provided the requisite written notice to all Trustees, adopted a Special Resolution at a Special Meeting held on April 16 held by means of telecommunications equipment so we could all hear and see each other, solely to extend the term of Interim President Dr. David Evans’ current contract for one year until June 30, 2021. It is not legally possible to amend or restate the contract except for this limited purpose under the extraordinary circumstances facing the Board.
The members of the AUBG Board of Trustees have full confidence in Dr. Evans. He has done an admirable job over the past year dealing with the myriad difficulties AUBG has faced and has shown strong leadership as AUBG faced the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has shown himself capable of making tough decisions, some very unpopular, and working tirelessly to find solutions to novel situations. These are skills that will serve us well as the COVID crisis continues to unfold and challenge AUBG during the coming months. The deep knowledge of AUBG’s functioning that Dr. Evans has gained over the past year will serve us well as he leads our community through a period of unprecedented challenges affecting universities and the system of higher education across the globe. We ask that the AUBG community join us in strongly supporting Dr. Evans as he leads the university during these turbulent times.
The most important matter for AUBG now is to adjust to the new normal and remain viable and strong. If we come together as a community to stabilize AUBG in the year ahead, we will be well positioned to attract the best talent when the presidential search reopens. The AUBG Board of Trustees would like to assure the community that, once travel restrictions and health risks due to COVID-19 have been minimized, the search process for a permanent president will be resumed. Since weeks and possibly months will have passed, we ask for your understanding that the higher education landscape might be quite different than it was when the search was suspended. Candidates who had expressed enthusiasm for joining AUBG may no longer be willing or able to consider such a move, while strong new candidates may be interested in the opportunity to serve at AUBG. The Board of Trustees in consultation with the professional search firm will decide how to proceed in the event that the viable candidate pool has changed considerably.
There will be many institutions of higher learning that will not survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, at this critical time, we ask for the support of all our students, faculty, staff and alumni so that AUBG will survive and emerge from the COVID-19 crisis well-positioned to offer the next permanent President a solid foundation for helping AUBG graduates reach even greater success and recognition in Bulgaria, the region and the world.
The AUBG Board of Trustees
With AUBG Interim President David Evans’s term concluding in the summer of 2020, AUBG announces the start of the search for its next President.
While the Board of Trustees holds the ultimate responsibility for hiring the next president, the Board recognizes and values the critical importance of key stakeholder participation in the presidential search process. The highly important role of key stakeholders is reflected in the membership of the Search Committee, which is charged with presenting the Board with a recommended slate of the best-qualified candidates for their consideration.
Search Firm Selection
After vetting several national search firms, AUBG has retained Lindauer Global to serve as its search partner. Additional information on Lindauer, which also conducted the recent search for AUBG’s Vice President for Advancement, can be found here: https://www.lindauerglobal.com/
Lindauer Executive Vice President Jill Lasman and Senior Consultant Gretchen Dwyer are leading the search for Lindauer. Jill and Gretchen met with stakeholders during meetings in Sofia and Blagoevgrad on November 5 and 6 in conjunction with the official launch of the search.
Selecting committee members was a thoughtful, planful process, as the Board is committed to including representation from all constituencies within the AUBG community - colleagues who will reflect and bring a wide variety of highly relevant experience to the work of the committee. Members are committed to conducting a search that yields an accomplished, visionary and inspirational president to lead AUBG.
The Board is grateful to the 11 members of the AUBG community who have agreed to serve. The committee met for the first time on October 11 in Sofia.
Dr. Carolyn Stefanco, Committee Chair & Chair, Board of Trustees
Dr. Stefanco is President of The College of Saint Rose (Albany, New York),
where she leads the institution in an ever-changing global environment, with a strong focus on student success and service to the urban community. She joined the College in 2014 after serving as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia. She has also served as the Founding Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at California State University, Stanislaus; as a tenured Professor, History Department Chair, and Women’s Studies Program Director at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly); and as Assistant Professor at Wheaton College (Massachusetts).
Dr. Stefanco was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the (U.S.) National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), where she has served on the Student Aid Policy Committee since 2016. She is also on the Board of Directors of the International Leadership Association, the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York, Albany Medical Center, and Hearst’s Women@Work. A women’s leadership scholar with global reach, Dr. Stefanco was recently awarded a Helen Gurley Brown Genius Grant, and she announced recent gifts totaling $2.3 million for women’s leadership initiatives at Saint Rose.
Dr. Stefanco earned her Ph.D. in History from Duke University, her M.A. in Women’s History from Binghamton University, and her B.A. in History and a Women’s Studies Certificate from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was a Senior Fulbright Scholar to the University of Zagreb in Croatia; served as Resident Director of a London Study Program; created programs for student exchange and faculty research in Brazil, Croatia, Honduras, and Portugal; and worked as a higher education consultant for Saudi Arabia
Ms. Angela Rodel, Committee Vice Chair & Member, Board of Trustees
Angela Rodel graduated from Yale University in 1996 with a BA in linguistics. Her experience performing in the Yale Slavic Chorus sparked a lifelong interest in Bulgarian music, language and culture. She is a two-time Fulbright Scholar, who first came to Bulgaria as a US Student Researcher in 1996 to linguistics and folk music at Sofia University. Her studies gave her a solid grasp of Bulgarian language and culture, an experience which deeply informed her graduate studies in linguistics and ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
In 2004, Angela received a Fulbright-Hays fellowship to study Bulgarian folk music at the Academy of Music, Dance and Visual Arts in Plovdiv. Since moving permanently to Bulgaria in 2005, Angela worked in business consulting and founded her own translation business, while continuing to study and perform Bulgarian folk music. She is a leading literary translator from Bulgarian to English, with seven novels published in the US and UK; her translations have appeared in MacSweeney’s, Two Lines, Ploughshares, Words Without Borders, Granta.org, and elsewhere. She has been awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Translation Grant and a PEN Translation Grant for her work. Her translation of Georgi Gospodinov’s Physics of Sorrow won the 2016 AATSEEL Prize for Literary Translation, and was shortlisted for the 2016 PEN Translation Prize and ALTA’s 2016 National Translation Award. In 2015, Angela became the executive director of the Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission.
Mr. Jordan Karabinov ’97, Member, Board of Trustees & President, AUBG Alumni Association
Mr. Jordan Karabinov (’97) holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the American University in Bulgaria and an MBA degree from IMD. He is the current President of the AUBG Alumni Association and a member of the AUBG Board of Trustees.
Mr. Karabinov began his professional career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Sofia in 1997. In 2001, he moved to the Netherlands where he worked as an internal audit manager for Alcatel-Lucent, General Electric and ArvinMeritor and performed internal audits and fraud investigations in 14 countries in Europe, USA and Australia. In 2009, Mr. Karabinov moved back to Bulgaria and became Managing Partner of JK&Partners, a company that offers services in the area of internal audit and risk management. Mr. Karabinov is the Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Internal Auditors in Bulgaria.
Mr. Michael Marvin, Member, Board of Trustees
Mr. Michael D. Marvin is the Managing Director of MDM Advisors, with over 15 years of experience assisting boards and CEOs achieve dramatic growth or reinvent their companies. He is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus and first CEO of MapInfo Corporation, a NASDAQ listed company founded in 1986. Also, a Founding Partner of Exponential Business Development Company, a venture fund dedicated to growing technology companies in upstate New York.
In addition, Mr. Marvin held various positions at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, most recently as the Business Director of Center for Manufacturing and Technology Transfer; a Principal in Marvin Associates, a business consulting firm serving U.S. Federal and State entities and large and small businesses to provide cost-effective improvements to their business practices; a manager at Westinghouse; and a programmer for the NASA Apollo project while at Sperry Univac.
Michael Marvin has a vast Board experience at educational institutions—a Board Member of Bulgaria Entrepreneurship Center dedicated to creating programs in conjunction with educational institutions in Bulgaria to stimulate entrepreneurship and secondarily the retention of youth in the country; a Board Member of Ventureprise, the entrepreneurship center at University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Co-Founder of the Business and Higher Education Round Table, an organization of 25 college presidents and corporate CEO’s to foster economic development in a 1-million-person region in upstate New York; a Board Member of School Turnaround, an organization focused on using measurement- based intervention programs to improve underachieving schools across the US; an Advisory Board Member to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School of Management though a major repositioning and accreditation process, etc. He won several awards—the most recent—Capital District Business Hall of Fame, 2002.
Dr. Ralitza Nikolaeva ’96, Member, Board of Trustees
Ralitza Nikolaeva earned her PhD at Krannert School of Management, Purdue University, USA. Before joining University of St Andrews, she taught at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Purdue University, GISMA Business School (Germany), ISCTE - IUL (Portugal), and Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan). Her research is broadly based in the diffusion cycle of new technologies and markets. She is currently working on institutional and cognitive drivers of adoption of practices, CSR reporting practices, hybrid organizations, and popularization of abduction in management research.
Dr. Nikolaeva has won two case writing awards by the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation (Marketing EDGE, New York) and presented her research at numerous international conferences. She is a member of the Academy of Marketing Science and the European Academy of Management. Dr. Nikolaeva is also a co-founder and trustee of the non-profit Initiative for Social Empowerment.
Mr. Dobrin Staikov ’96, Member, University Council
Mr. Dobrin Staikov (’96) is currently Chief Financial Officer and Head of Capital Markets at Lion’s Head Investments, а leading regional commercial real estate investment and asset management platform. Previously, he was a senior investment professional for over 12 years at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London. Mr. Staikov also spent over two years at Deutsche Bank’s global markets team (London) and five years at PwC’s audit and transaction advisory business in Bulgaria and New Zealand. He holds an MBA from INSEAD and a BA in Business Administration and Political Science & International Relations from the American University in Bulgaria. He is also qualified as a chartered certified accountant in the UK (ACCA).
Ms. Avgustina Pasheeva ’10, Member, AUBG Alumni Association
Avgustina (Avi) Pasheeva is a business professional with 9+ years of experience in early stage investments, startups, strategy, marketing and sales. Currently, Ms. Pasheeva is Business Development Manager at BIODIT - a Bulgarian hardware startup that specializes in the development and manufacture of access control and security solutions, based on biometric identification.
Avi has a vast experience in startups, software, early stage investments and venture capital and is plugged into both Silicon Valley and European ecosystems. Previously, she was Marketing Manager at VideoEngager and served as an Investment Manager at an early stage venture capital fund, both companies are based in California.The fund invested in 20 technology startups, has 4 exits and Avi has zero failed investments. She sourced deals, created due diligence packages used by 500 + investors, analyzed business models and strategy, and participated in numerous technology related events as a speaker, mentor and judge.
In 2014, Avi was part of Draper University, located in the heart of Silicon Valley. She graduated AUBG in 2010 with double major in Business Administration and Journalism and Mass Communications. She is a member of AUBG Alumni Association and mentor at Teenovator - entrepreneurship program for 10th and 11th grade students in Bulgaria.
Professor Lucia Miree, Member, AUBG Faculty
Lucia Miree has been a professor for over thirty years. She has lived and worked overseas with the last twelve years in Bulgaria. She is currently a Professor of Business at AUBG where she teaches Human Resource Management, Organizational Behavior, and a number of elective seminars in compensation and benefits, training, and performance management.
Lucia Miree graduated from Florida State University with her masters and doctorate work in Organizational Behavior and Communication. She later completed a Master of Public Health degree with a specialization in healthcare management in Boston University. She has an undergraduate degree in foreign languages (Spanish and French) from Auburn University.
Professor Rossitsa Gradeva, Member, AUBG Faculty
Rositsa Gradeva, Professor of History.
Ph.D., History, Institute of Balkan Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria, 1989
M.A., History, Sofia University, Bulgaria, 1981
B.A., English Philology, Sofia University, Bulgaria, 1981
Balkan history, 14th-20th centuries; Ottoman history; cultural and economic institutions in the Ottoman world; religious communities in the Balkans; the Eastern question; Muslims, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman empire; women in Islam; History of Islam
Ottoman and Balkan history, Ottoman legal institutions; non-Muslims and their communal and religious institutions in the Ottoman empire; everyday life; administrative and military institutions in the Ottoman Balkans; Islam and Muslim communities in the Balkans
Mr. Petar Petrov, Student Representative to the Board of Trustees
Petar D. Petrov is a senior double majoringin Information Systems & Business Administration with a concentration in Management. He is deeply involved in AUBG's community and constantly supports numerous initiatives on campus. He is part of 4 major clubs (Olympics, StartUP, The Hub, Radio Aura) and the Student Government as a Student Representative to the Board of Trustees. Apart from his academic life, Petar works in the Fintech industry as a Business Developer for a global company. He is passionate about politics and wants to pursue a career in that direction later in life, so he can help people and contribute to the future development of Bulgaria
Ms. Iskra Rusanova, Director, Human Resources
Iskra Rusanova is an HR professional with extensive experience in areas such as recruitment, performance appraisal, employee relations, training and organizational development, talent management and employee engagement. Prior to joining AUBG, Ms. Rusanova served as a Learning & Organizational Manager at Sensata Technologies - one of the world's leading suppliers of sensing, electrical protection, control and power management solutions. She has a vast experience in the field of HR that spans over almost 20 years and has worked for companies such as Raiffeisen Bank, Division Software, and Nestle Sofia. Ms. Rusanova holds a BA degree in Economics from the University of National and World Economy, Bulgaria.
The timeline for a presidential search – from its initiation and development of a search committee to candidate review, interviews and final selected – takes many months. This website will keep you informed about the search and will contain relevant information related to the search process.
Letter from Dr. Carolyn Stefanco | Jan. 13, 2020
Dear Members of the AUBG Community.
I hope this letter finds you all well and having enjoyed a peaceful holiday season. I am writing to provide an update on the continuing progress of our Presidential Search.
It is my pleasure to share that the search and opportunity has attracted significant interest. Our search firm partners at Lindauer Global are in active conversation with prospective candidates in preparation of their presentation of candidates to the Search Committee at the end of February. Following this presentation, the Committee will select semi-finalist candidates to interview with the Committee, and ultimately, a slate of finalists will then be invited to campus later this spring.
Members of the community are invited to learn more about the search and to recommend candidates here: https://www.aubg.edu/presidential-search
We will continue to keep you posted on our progress.
Carolyn Stefanco, Committee Chair and Chair, Board of Trustees
Letter from Dr. Carolyn Stefanco | Feb. 17, 2020
Dear Members of the AUBG Community,
It is my pleasure to write and report on the continuing progress of our Presidential Search.
Our search firm partners at Lindauer are preparing to present a slate of candidates to the Search Committee at the end of February, and I am very pleased to tell you that our search has attracted significant interest; 60 applications were received for the role. Our Lindauer partners, Jill and Gretchen, have let us know there are a number of compelling candidates, based on the criteria the presidential search committee articulated in the position prospectus, which appears here: https://www.lindauerglobal.com/uploads/career/files/Prospectus-American-University-in-Bulgaria-President.pdf
From this initial slate, the Search Committee will select semi-finalists who will interview with the Committee throughout the month of March. Jill and Gretchen have let us know the candidates represent a diverse set of professional experiences over a wide geography. There are current or former presidents, provosts, and deans in the mix, as well as other higher education administrators and non-traditional candidates. So far, this has been a thorough and rigorous undertaking that will soon bring to our attention a set of uniquely qualified, fascinating, and experienced candidates, all of whom the committee is looking forward to learning more about.
We will continue to keep you posted on our progress.
Carolyn J. Stefanco, Committee Chair and Chair, Board of Trustees
How long will the search take and when will the new president take office?
Presidential searches typically take about six to eight months. The Board hopes to name the next president in the Spring of 2020 with a proposed official start date in the Summer of 2020.
Nominate a Candidate
Please provide your candidate nomination. Your submission will be sent directly to the search consultant and treated as confidential.