Higher Education

Scope of Service 

We serve the largest University Systems in the country to small liberal arts institutions and private colleges, mid-size regional universities, designated Hispanic Serving and Minority serving institutions, land grant institutions, Tier 1 research universities, national academic associations, state higher education commissions, accreditation organizations, translational research enterprises and more.

Within academic institutions and systems there may be political alliances, affiliations and agendas that must be managed effectively in order for the institution to experience a successful search and an outstanding hire. Setting proper expectations and effectively managing large, complex, diverse search committees to align on a major hiring decision requires skill, expertise and finesse – areas in which our team excels.

Wheless Partners provides a search process and candidate assessment tools and resources that effectively focus the search committee members on the task at hand, and not on political distractions. Clients do not expect search partners to rely on intuition, and to put candidates through their paces, push them against the core competencies of the role, assess their fit with the organization and reveal the true nature of the executive behind the CV.  Our firm is effective doing just that.

Here are comments clients shared about Wheless Partners’ proprietary candidate assessment tools:

  • They allow the search committee to truly compare and contrast one candidate against another 
  • They provide information that a resume cannot, such as insight into the candidate’s thought processes, flow of logic, and communication skills 
  • They provide valuable documentation to validate a hiring decision 
  • Wheless Partner’s candidate assessment tools allow for a truly apolitical decision-making process 
  • Our onboarding support for new academic administrators delivered by former academic Presidents and Chancellors is uniquely effective 

Metrics of Success 

  • +97% Access to Top Candidates – The Happily Employed and Not Looking.  We purposely concentrate our practice on a select group of strategic clients to dramatically minimize “off limits/non-compete” issues. Wheless delivers greater access to rare, high-caliber leaders, in contrast to other firms who are in many cases hands-off to top tier candidates they have already placed within a client organization and cannot touch. Or, are already assigned to another search, and not available to you.  With our unique Portfolio Approach to the marketplace, we intentionally choose to represent no more than 3% of organizations in your industry.  Because of this commitment we provide our select clients >97% access to the best of the best.
  • High % Diversity Hires. Our team includes ethnic/gender diversity and multi-industry cross-pollination of experience, and 56% of our searches result in female or minority hires. This number rises to 60.8% for chancellor and president hires.
  • Exceptional “Stick Rate”. Within higher education, 94% of our firm’s placements remain in the same role for three years or more.


We have a time-tested process for searches and for search committees that works. However, our searches are a partnership with our client, and we gladly customize our process accordingly.

We seek out passive candidates – those are the only candidates we seek on behalf of our clients – individuals who are employed, successful, happy and not looking. These individuals are actively engaged and bringing ROI to the institutions to which they are committed, and they make the very best candidates for our select cadre of clients.

Our process for ensuring diversity in our candidate pools is intentional and receives top priority.

Before a search begins, the points of view of key client stakeholders involved in a search can be “all over the map.” The question, “What does the ideal candidate look like from your perspective?” can result in as many answers as there are members of the search committee.  We help you gather and analyze this information prior to the start of the search, and we work with you to refine as necessary throughout the search.

Our mission and objective is to facilitate alignment of the points of view of all key stakeholders – Hiring Manager, HR, Search Committee, Regents/Trustees, Peer Group, Direct Reports, resulting in the desired outcome of a hand-in-glove professional, technical, leadership, and cultural fit.

When key stakeholders have reached alignment on which criteria the finalist must bring, and the candidate’s experience, aptitude and attitude have been scrupulously tested against these “must have” core competencies, leadership indicators and values-driven attributes, the desired outcome of an extraordinary hire can be realized.

Let’s today begin a dialogue as to how our Portfolio Approach and Portfolio Promise combine to uniquely position your enterprise assuring you consistently hire those proven top of the bell curve leaders.

Email MikeW@WhelessPartners.com to calendar a time to advance our conversation. Or phone 404.939.1305.   

Anticipate our speaking….