Search committee launched to find new vice president and general counsel


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Rebecca Crown Center. Administrators Thursday announced the launch of a search committee to find a new vice president and general counsel

Cameron Cook, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern administrators launched a committee Thursday to search for a new vice president and general counsel to take the place of Philip Harris, according to a University news release.

Harris, who was hired as the vice president and general counsel in 2016, was quietly removed from the staff list on the General Counsel’s website in November. President Morton Schapiro said in an interview with The Daily on Monday that Harris left the position for “personal reasons,” but declined to comment further.

Attempts to reach Harris were unsuccessful.

Whoever takes the position will replace Stephanie Graham, who is currently serving as interim vice president and general counsel, though she is being considered for the position.

The Office of General Counsel provides legal advice and representation for the University and all of its schools and departments as one legal entity. The counsel advises the Board of Trustees, officers, faculty and staff who raise questions about the interests of the University.

Craig Johnson, the senior vice president for business and finance, will chair the search committee, which the release said will begin its work “immediately.” The committee will also include representatives from University faculty, staff and Board of Trustees members, the release said.

The committee will also engage with NU community members to “solicit input about the desired attributes and experience of a vice president and general counsel, and to seek assistance in identifying candidates,” the release said. Community members are “invited to share feedback” by contacting the search committee.

The committee will work with a search firm to “cultivate a wide pool of candidates” and is expected to make recommendations for finalists in the spring, University spokesman Bob Rowley said.

The search will be national, though international candidates can also apply, he added.

“As with all searches, our goal is to identify the best possible candidate to serve in the position,” Rowley said. “The committee wants someone with a strong legal background that includes experience in the range of issues that affect higher education. A position description will be posted on the search website once the committee develops it.”

The committee will meet in person or over the phone every few weeks, Rowley added.

Elizabeth Byrne contributed reporting.

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Twitter: @cam_e_cook

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