Pennsylvania State University

The Challenge

The Challenge The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has built a macro-scale public-private partnership ecosystem to help build collaborative solutions to issues of national security and global defense. UTSA’s National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC) is partnering with a wide array of federal and private entities within the defense and intelligence communities. The NSCC embraces the “one team, one fight” enterprise-wide national security posture. UTSA, however, needed an Executive Director to lead the Center and its growing portfolio of projects.

The Approach

Higher Talent was retained by Pennsylvania State University to identify, engage, and recruit top talent from across the country.  After the site visit, Higher Talent prepared a detailed and informative position prospectus, designed the candidate research strategy, and began proactively reaching out to potential candidates and individuals for networking.

The thinking behind candidate research included:

  • Who will have the skills and gravitas to work effectively across a multifaceted institution?
  • Where will this individual be currently?
    • We researched prospective candidates from the corporate world with experience working with universities on sponsored research activities and
    • those in higher education institutions experienced in developing broad corporate engagement programs
  • Utilizing our network combined with original research, we reached out to more than 360 individuals; had informational and telephone screening calls with 18; personally interviewed 10; presented six as Higher Talent recommended shortlist candidates including:
    • Two from industry

Four from research universities.

The Result

Pennsylvania State University hired Melissa Erekson from Tulane University where she had built a strong and effective corporate engagement program, including buy-in and participation from key players including research, development, career services, and industry partners.