Academic Search, an executive search firm founded in 1976, is dedicated to serving higher education institutions and related organizations. The firm is proudly celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. From its beginning, Academic Search has had the ambitious goal to provide colleges, universities, and related organizations with highly professional, individually focused search services modeled on best practices in other sectors, which at the time was a new concept in higher education. Success was immediate. Academic Search established the standards on how to recruit the best and brightest academic leaders through a process that fosters a successful appointment. Through the years, it has also built a dossier of premier clients and earned a reputation for integrity, confidentiality, and excellence.

Senior Consultants

Dr. Mac Stewart-Academic SearchMac A. Stewart, Ph.D., retired from the position of Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Vice Provost at The Ohio State University, following a long career of senior level administrative positions in higher education. He also previously served as a consultant on evaluation review boards for the Ohio Board of Regents, the University of Nebraska, Texas A&M University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Temple University, among others. Dr. Stewart took a leave of absence from Academic Search from 2011-2012 to serve as Interim Provost at Kentucky State University. In addition, Dr. Stewart previously served as Director of Financial Aid at Morehouse College.

He is vice-chair of the board of trustees of the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help, working especially closely with its Teachers for Africa program. In addition, he was a founder and member of the board of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. Active in civic and community projects, Dr. Stewart has been on the board of trustees of the Ohio Historical Society, the Mount Carmel School of Nursing, the Columbus Urban League, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus. He has been a member of the editorial board of The Negro Educational Review since 1983, was editor-in-chief from 1999 to 2007, and is the current president.

Dr. Stewart earned his B.A. in sociology from Morehouse College, an M.A. in counseling from Atlanta University, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from The Ohio State University. Dr. Stewart’s additional educational experiences include Harvard University and the University of Bonn. He is also the recipient of a number of prestigious local and national awards.


WaDr. Wanda Bigham-Academic Searchnda Durrett Bigham, Ed.D., has served for five years as Senior Consultant at Academic Search, assisting with over twenty searches. Earlier in her career, she served for sixteen years as president at Huntingdon College and Marycrest College. Following those appointments, she served as the Assistant General Secretary and the Interim Associate General Secretary for the United Methodist-related colleges and universities in the United States and around the world. While in this position, she staffed the Africa University (Zimbabwe) Board of Trustees’ Committee on Academic Affairs and she organized and led the search for the University’s Vice Chancellor (equivalent to our presidents in the USA). She also founded and led a program for prospective presidents and she has often been a speaker at workshops to advise and mentor college and university administrators who have been identified as potential presidents.

Prior to her presidencies at Huntingdon and Marycrest, Dr. Bigham held several advancement and academic administrative roles at Emerson College and Morehead State University, including Vice President for Development and College Relations, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Acting Dean for Graduate and Special Academic Programs.

Dr. Bigham holds the B.M.E. degree from Murray State University, the M.M. and M.H.E. degrees from Morehead State University, and the Ed.D. degree from the University of Kentucky. She earned a certificate in academic administration from the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University and she was an ACE Fellow.