Increased Demand For Interim Academic Leaders

» Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Breaking News | Comments Off on Increased Demand For Interim Academic Leaders

“This has been a year of change for us”  says Anne Penny, CPC, President and Managing Partner of Emerson Professionals, Inc.  “We have seen our client colleges and universities reaching out more and more for the immediacy of hiring Interim Academic Leaders such as Deans and Program Chairs for their Nursing schools and departments. They are seeking consistency and continuity for their students and faculty.  This doesn’t happen when a leadership role is left vacant for as much as a year.”

Emerson Professionals, Inc. has been specializing in passive academic talent search since 2010, when the demand for staff and faculty ran the gamut from Campus President through Directors of Admissions and Surgical Tech faculty.  “Last year, there was a visible shift.  We were suddenly flooded with requests to find permanent and interim Deans and Program Directors for nursing programs around the country.

Some of the factors driving this demand for nursing education are the current and future nursing shortages, the increase in life expectancy, hospitals striving for Magnet status, and changes within the insurance world.  This means that jobs are abundant making nursing an attractive career choice for those just entering the workforce, those enhancing their credentials, and those changing careers.

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2010-2020 released in February 2012, the Registered Nursing workforce is the top occupation in terms of job growth through 2020. It is expected that the number of employed nurses will grow from 2.74 million in 2010 to 3.45 million in 2020, an increase of 712,000 or 26%. The projections further explain the need for 495,500 replacements in the nursing workforce bringing the total number of job opening for nurses due to growth and replacements to 1.2 million by 2020.
  • According to the “United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast” published in a 2012 issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality, a shortage of RN’s is projected to spread across the country between 2009 and 2030.  In this state by state analysis, the authors forecast the RN shortage to be most intense in the South and the West.

Happily, the team at Emerson Professionals, Inc. is up to the task.  Prior to their focus on academic recruitment, Emerson had been placing healthcare professionals nationally since 1994.  “It was a natural transition and our network of healthcare/academic talent is increasing exponentially.  We enjoy successful relationships with major research-oriented institutions as well as the colleges offering “start-up” RN-BSN or MSN or DNP/PhD programs.”

As a result of the increase in healthcare programs being offered, the need for faculty and management staff has become critical.  Often, when an academic leader decides to change their career path, they are contractually bound to complete their current semester.  This leaves the hiring school with a waiting time of as much as six months!  The Interim has become essential to ensuring continuity to all involved.

Recently,  Emerson Professionals, Inc. partnered with a University in the Mid West with a similar situation.  “They gave us two searches, one was for a 6-month Interim Dean and the other was for a permanent Dean, who will begin their tenure as of July 1. It was imperative that the interim possess the necessary skills to spearhead the launch of their DNP program, curricula design and preparation for accreditation.  They had no time to lose and expected the Interim to function in the position as though it were a full time commitment.  “For them it was not about being an Interim, it was about being a Dean!”  stated Penny.

Compounding  the problem, current and projected shortage indicators reveal that hundreds of  Deans across the nation are slated to retire this year– as well as a significant segment of the nursing workforce nearing retirement age.

  • In September 2010, AACN announced the expansion of NursingCAS, the nations’ centralized application service for RN programs, to include graduate nursing programs. One of the primary reasons for launching NursingCAS was to ensure that all vacant seats in schools of nursing are filled to better meet the need for RNs, APRNs, and nurse faculty. In 2013,  more than 16,000 vacant seats were identified in baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs. NursingCAS provides a way to fill these seats and maximize the educational capacity of schools of nursing.   See

Looking forward, the nation’s nursing programs must meet this critical need for additional nurses.  More and more, schools are turning to niche-oriented recruiting firms to assist them in attracting dedicated, nursing/academic leaders.

In our frenetic age of information overload, the selection process is more critical than ever.  When you partner with Emerson Professionals, Inc., we deliver the most cost effective and expedient hiring solutions.