Search Firm


Witt/Kieffer ranks among the nationís top 10 executive search firms and is the single largest firm specializing in senior-level executive search assignments for higher education and health care. With considerable experience recruiting presidents and other senior officers, the firm has recruited more than 1,000 academic, administrative and advancement positions, having performed more than 50 searches for college presidents/chancellors during the past five years.

Over the past several years, Witt/Kieffer has conducted searches for Temple University and the Temple University Health System, providing candid, experienced counsel on what it takes to attract the best possible leaders to the university. Their search team brings specialized knowledge and understanding of the complex dynamics of higher education and offers a national perspective on the requisite skills and experience for leaders in educational institutions today. The Temple University presidential search team includes:

Karen E. Otto

Karen Otto, senior vice president, brings over two decades of healthcare and academic executive search experience to her role on the consulting team. Based in Oak Brook, IL, Karen recruits national leaders on behalf of preeminent hospitals and health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools, physician group practices, health science centers, public institutions, colleges and universities, and community service organizations.

Karen has served on the firmís board of directors and leads the firmís academic medicine search practice. She is an executive search consultant who uses her skills to enhance leadership in health care and education. Beginning her executive search practice in 1984, Karenís grasp of the leadership requirements of healthcare and education clients ó and her skill in identifying up and coming leaders ó make her an effective consultant who finds and attracts qualified executives. Karen reinforces the importance of timeliness and enthusiasm as she actively promotes the benefits of the client organization, resulting in retained candidate interest.

Earlier in her career, Karen was a manager in the executive search practice of a major management consulting firm in Chicago. Her previous assignments feature placements at consumer products, financial and professional services organizations. Outside of work, Karen offers her time and leadership in community and faith-based organizations, including serving on the board of Chicago-based Heartland Alliance, a human needs and human rights organization providing housing, health care and human services. She frequently speaks on board recruitment, development and career planning topics.

B.S., Business Administration, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Oak Brook Office:
2015 Spring Road
Suite 510
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Phone: 630-990-1370 Fax: 630-990-1382


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Jean A. Dowdall, Ph.D.

Jean Dowdall specializes in senior executive searches for colleges, universities and other not-for-profit organizations. She brings 30 years of experience in higher education and has been a search consultant since 1996. Following a faculty career, she began her administrative career as an American Council on Education (ACE) fellow, and then became a dean of arts and sciences (West Chester University, West Chester, PA), vice president (Arcadia University, Glenside, PA) and president (Simmons College, Boston, MA).

Jean has carried out more than 150 searches for executive leadership, including over 50 searches for presidents and chancellors. She is the author of Searching for Higher Education Leadership: Advice for Candidates and Search Committees, has published in the ACE/Praeger Series on Higher Education, and is a frequent columnist and speaker on executive search. Her columns for the Chronicle of Higher Education are archived at

Ph.D., Sociology, Brown University, Providence, RI
M.A., Anthropology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
B.A., Anthropology, Brown University, Providence, RI, Phi Beta Kappa

Philadelphia Office:
241 S. 6th Street
Suite 1705
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: 215-238-6522 Fax: 215-238-6523


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Oliver B. Tomlin, III

Oliver Tomlin is a vice president and shareholder with Witt/Kiefferís education and not-for-profit and healthcare practices. Based in Philadelphia, Oliver has more than 30 years of highly successful management experience. His executive search practice is focused on recruiting senior leaders for hospitals and health systems, colleges and universities, professional associations, cultural institutions and community service and civic organizations.

He is committed to assisting his clients in achieving their strategic, organizational objectives and senior leadership recruiting goals. Oliver focuses on recruiting for high-level positions, including presidents, vice presidents, provosts and deans for colleges and universities; and CEOs, COOs, CFOs and executive directors for healthcare and other not-for-profit organizations.

His broad industry background and search experience provide clients with a wealth of expertise and a broad, nationwide network of executive contacts. This professional network has grown as a result of his leadership experience which ranges from serving as president and CEO of a regional healthcare company to his role as a director of worldwide marketing for an international pharmaceutical company.

Oliver is dedicated to participating in organizations that enhance the quality of life, and has served as a trustee for the Metropolitan Career Center in Philadelphia and the National Association of Health Services Executives.


M.B.A., Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
B.A., Business Administration, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA

Philadelphia Office:
1600 Arch Street
Suite 918
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-568-2160 Fax: 215-568-2168


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The Presidential Search Committee email address is:

Please direct all communications to the Committee through this email address. You should avoid any communications with individual Committee members regarding the search process or any candidate.

Temple University Office of the Secretary
3 Mezzanine - Sullivan Hall, 1330 Polett Walk Philadelphia, PA 19122-6096
phone: 215-204-7308 fax: 215-204-5862
For web related questions email:

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