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Board of Trustees

Chapter IX - Selection, Duty and Evaluation of the President


The selection of a President is the most significant duty exercised by the Clemson University Board of Trustees. In past years, the Trustee Manual has contained a Presidential Selection Process, but the Trustees have determined that a static process may not adequately address the needs of the University in light of the many varying circumstances that necessitate a presidential search.

Accordingly, the Board of Trustees has determined that a search process will be developed and approved as needed, and the process will be tailored to the circumstances existing at the time.

Desirable Qualifications

The Board believes the following to be desirable qualifications for a President. While no candidate will meet all of these qualifications, these are selection criteria for candidate evaluation. None of the following, either individually or in combination with others, shall represent a specific requirement for selection.

1. Background

The candidate should:

  1. Recognize the importance of scholarship. An academic background, though not necessary, might be helpful.
  2. Hold at least an undergraduate degree. Additional post-graduate degrees would be beneficial.
  3. Have a wholesome family life
  4. Understand fully the teaching, research and public service functions of the University
  5. Understand the role of public universities
  6. Understand fully the unique role of a land-grant universityBe fully sensitive to the needs and desires of students
  7. Be fully sensitive to the needs and desires of students
  8. Articulate well and expand on the University’s problems, accomplishments and future goals
  9. Be able to educate all University constituencies on the development of the institution
  10. Be a well-seasoned and effective administrator or executive in either the private or public
  11. Be able to set goals and move toward them with a firm pace
  12. Have astute political sense
  13. Be able to provide a good evaluation of results
  14. Possess management skills to guide ongoing University planning and reorganization accomplished through strategic planning undergirded with continuous improvement and assessment
  15. Have a commanding demeanor

2. Personal Qualifications

The successful candidate should have personal qualifications that will support the successful leadership of a major educational enterprise. They would include:

  1. Ability to coordinate all academic activities of a large university
  2. Ability to gain full recognition from the faculty, students and Trustees as an effective academic and administrative leader
  3. Ability to make persuasive presentations to the various governmental agencies, the Legislature and the numerous constituencies of the University
  4. Potential to make a significant contribution to the development of higher education in South Carolina
  5. Ability to attract and retain recognized scholars as members of the faculty
  6. Capability of securing gifts and grants for the University that enable it to do those unique things that make for a great learning and research center


1. Responsibilities of the President to the Board of Trustees

  1. The President is the chief executive officer of the University with complete responsibility to the Board for operating within the policy mandates of the Board.
  2. The President is responsible to the Board for recommending policies that, when adopted, become the governing rules by which the University operates.
  3. The authority and responsibility for the governance of the University is vested by statute in the Board of Trustees.
  4. The President is the only officer with an overview of the University as a whole. The responsibility for preserving the internal viability of the institution and for dealing extensively with constituencies outside the academic community make the President well qualified to advise the Board in its decision making.
  5. Under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, the President’s recommendations to the Board and the Board decisions, with few exceptions, are made in public meetings.

2. Responsibilities of the President to the Faculty

  1. The President is responsible for providing leadership in academic, as well as in other affairs, of the University.
  2. The President encourages innovative academic ideas and programs and ensures that the full capabilities of the University are coordinated to accomplish its mission of providing quality education.

3. Responsibilities of the President to the Students

The President is charged with the responsibility of providing leadership in both academic and extracurricular programs to enhance student accomplishments, student life and student activities.

4. Public Service Responsibilities of the President

In addition to having the usual missions of a land-grant university, Clemson is perhaps unique among all such institutions in that the General Assembly has by law vested the University with the responsibility of exercising broad regulatory powers in the public sector. Thus, the President of Clemson has a direct responsibility to the General Assembly and to the people of South Carolina in the implementation of regulations in the following areas, which in most states are assigned to another agency or department of the government:

  • Livestock and Poultry Health Inspection
  • Fertilizer and Pesticide Control
  • Seed Certification

5. Mission of the University

  1. The President is the leader in pursuing the mission of the University and shaping its role in higher education and public service in South Carolina.
  2. The President is the leader in developing the primary goals and objectives of all parts of the University.
  3. In coordinating achievement of goals, the President utilizes a system of total quality management (strategic planning undergirded with continuous improvement and assessment).
  4. The President must, at the same time, be responsive to diverse constituencies, including: governors and legislators, students, faculty, community members, corporate partners and philanthropic interests.

6. Short- and Long-range Planning

  1. The President, with aid from the vice presidents, has ultimate responsibility for planning both the short- and long-term development of the University for consideration by the Board of Trustees.
  2. Planning is continuous and documented.
  3. The planning is based on an academic plan supported by facilities planning, financial planning, administrative planning, development planning and student affairs planning.
  4. The President provides major input to the guidance of the research programs of the University.

7. Meeting the Challenges of the Future

  1. The future will continue to present Clemson University with challenges, all of which will require outstanding leadership, ability and guidance from the President.
  2. The President must develop a strong, cohesive and aggressive management organization at Clemson University.
  3. The President must recognize that energy, health and man’s potential are all critical to South Carolina’s development and that of the world.
  4. Because of the critical importance of agriculture to South Carolina and to the entire world, the President must be an innovative planner for Clemson’s role in agriculture.
  5. The President must be particularly innovative in the cost/benefit analysis of all programs, determining specifically how Clemson will grow or control its growth, and how Clemson can lead rather than merely react to the problems encountered.
  6. The President must be the leader of active capital campaign fund-raising efforts.

8. Major Role in Public Relations

The President must supply particular leadership to the University’s total public relations program, including relationships with students, faculty, staff, the various governments, the General Assembly, the Commission on Higher Education, the Alumni Association, the University Foundation, the intercollegiate athletic programs, the various economic interests and to all of the other segments of the public which the University serves through its many public service programs.

The President shall actively participate in functions and events calculated to result in financial contributions for the benefit of the University. As part of this responsibility, the President shall be required to live in the President’s Home on campus and to regularly host events for the benefit of the University at the Home.

9. Evaluation of Results Achieved

  1. One of the fundamental roles of the President is the process of evaluating what has been accomplished compared to what had been planned.
  2. The President not only leads in regular evaluations, but uses them as a primary means of informing the Board of the University’s problems and progress.

10. The Board’s Chief Administrator

  1. The President is the conduit from the Board to the Administration.
  2. The President works through the established levels of administrators, but must also ensure that the channels of communication are working well, that assignments are fully understood, that there is a firm commitment to goal setting, and that the future of each unit is well-planned.

11. Institutional Research

  1. The President must see that sufficient institutional research is planned and being carried out so as to equip the University to set goals, develop standards, use funds available with prudence and equip the institution to grow with confidence in its future development.
  2. Without Presidential leadership, goal setting, planning and institutional research, the University cannot be in firm control of its own destiny and assured that “drift” is minimized.

12. The Program for Manpower Development

  1. The President must see that a well-balanced program of manpower planning is used to provide needed staff replacements.
  2. This includes the development of a strong layer of second-level management so as to ensure the ability to meet the University’s primary needs for management strength.
  3. This manpower planning should be performed for both the academic and the administrative functions of the University.


The President is evaluated annually by the Board of Trustees. As the chief executive of a state agency, the President is also evaluated by the South Carolina Agency Head Salary Commission.

The Chair of the Board, with the assistance of the Executive Secretary, shall follow the Agency Head Performance Evaluation Process as prescribed by the Agency Head Salary Commission. The current version of the Agency Head Performance Evaluation Process is included as Appendix G.

In addition to following the state evaluation process, the Chair shall annually solicit feedback concerning the President’s performance from all members of the Board of Trustees. The Chair shall compile the Trustees’ feedback and prepare an evaluation of the President’s performance for the prior year, which he shall then discuss in a private conference with the President. If possible, the Chair shall also create each year an opportunity for the Trustees and the President to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the University in the coming year.

July 2018

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