Wanda Durrett Bigham
Senior Consultant and Senior Executive Coach
Dr. Wanda D. Bigham is passionate about connecting with a search team and understanding the administrators’ needs. Her entire career has been dedicated to improving institutions and the students they serve, and she works tirelessly to find the best candidates who will flourish in the positions they’re selected to fill. With more than a decade of senior search consulting experience, Dr. Bigham’s contribution to Academic Search and the schools she serves is immeasurable.
As a senior consultant with over 60 searches in her repertoire, Dr. Bigham’s personable approach and deep commitment to addressing a committee’s needs contribute to her success. She listens closely to the search committee’s requests and preferences and utilizes her vast network to locate and promote esteemed professionals for consideration. Dr. Bigham builds a genuine connection with executive staff members and is often hired by the same institution multiple times for various searches. She also makes herself available for professional development, as former colleagues have relied heavily on her for career advice and guidance over the years. Dr. Bigham has led searches in all levels of academia at public and private universities, HBCUs, women’s institutions, and more.
Before joining the Academic Search team, Dr. Bigham was President of Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL, for 10 years and Marycrest College in Davenport, IA, for six years. The Kentucky native also served in leadership positions for nearly a decade in the United Methodist Church’s Division of Higher Education, as Vice President for Development at Emerson College, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Acting Graduate Dean at one of her alma maters, Morehead State University.
Dr. Bigham earned her doctorate in education with teaching fields in higher education and music from the University of Kentucky, two master’s degrees from Morehead State, and a bachelor’s in music education from Murray State University. She has been an ACE Fellow and holds a certificate from the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University, and she has served on many national boards and committees of higher education associations.
While president of Huntingdon College from 1993 to 2003, Dr. Bigham oversaw the school’s growth and development. A visionary at heart, she implemented the Huntingdon Plan, which led to tremendous improvements in students’ lives and education. The plan included international studies and travel opportunities, as well as revolutionary access to technology, with the goal of better preparing Huntingdon students for the changing world. Through this plan, Huntingdon became the first national liberal arts college to provide computers for all students and offer international experiences included in tuition. As a result, by 2001, Huntingdon was ranked sixth in the nation for the percentage of students who studied abroad.