Three candidates emerge as finalists for ASU chancellor

by George Jared ([email protected]) 624 views 

Arkansas State University has selected three finalists for its chancellor’s position left open since August 2016 when Tim Hudson was forced resigned after an audit discovered numerous violations.

Doug Whitlock has been the interim chancellor since September. His $305,000 contract expires June 30. He told Talk Business & Politics he is willing to stay longer if the university needs him to aid the new chancellor.

Dr. Kelly Damphousse, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Dr. Ronald Elsenbaumer, interim provost and vice-president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington; and Dr. Alan Shao, dean of the School of Business at The College of Charleston in South Carolina were picked out of the 52 applicants who applied for the position.

“We were pleased with the overall quality of the applicants, and the three finalists are outstanding higher education administrators with impressive backgrounds in teaching and research who would each bring unique experiences to Arkansas State,” ASU President Chuck Welch said. “I look forward to bringing them to campus so we can show them the opportunities that await the next chancellor and give our constituencies an opportunity to visit with them.”

Welch and an advisory committee composed of 21 members representing faculty, staff, students, and community representatives, reviewed each candidacy. The three finalists will have campus visits in the coming weeks. During the visits, finalists will meet with the advisory committee, faculty, staff, students, and community members during the interview sessions. Individuals attending the interview sessions will have an opportunity to submit feedback regarding each candidate to the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee. Following the final interview, the advisory committee will meet to discuss the candidates and provide feedback to the ASU system president. Welch said he hopes to have a new chancellor hired by June 1.

Damphousse (DAMF-iss) has served as dean or interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma in Norman since 2013. The college is the university’s largest and most diverse, with an annual budget of $100 million, 31 academic and research units offering 60 degrees, 1,000 full-time faculty and staff and more than 9,000 students. He previously served as associate dean of the college for nine years. He has worked as OU’s faculty athletics representative to the Big 12 Conference and NCAA since 2012.

Elsenbaumer has served as senior advisor to the president for entrepreneurship and economic development at the University of Texas at Arlington since last year. He is an interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, a position he held for the previous four years. His 26-year career at UTA includes stints as vice president for research and federal relations, director of the nano-fabrication research and teaching facility and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Shao (sh-OW; rhymes with “wow”) has been the dean of the School of Business at The College of Charleston in South Carolina since 2009 and was the Jack Tate Distinguished Professor of Marketing there from 2009-2011. From 1990-2009 he had various administrative and teaching positions at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, including associate dean of graduate and global programs and director of international business programs.

Whitlock replaced Chancellor Tim Hudson who resigned under fire in August 2016. Controversy erupted after it was learned during an internal audit that Hudson tried to hire his wife, Dr. Deidra Hudson as the school’s full-time studies abroad director. The appointment would have been a violation of state law. When Dee Dee Hudson couldn’t take the permanent job, Hudson stalled the hiring of a director so that his wife could remain in charge of the program in a part-time capacity that didn’t violate state law. The audit revealed the program was chronically mismanaged.

A student exchange program was started in Lanjaron, Spain, by Dee Dee Hudson. ASU, at the direction of Tim Hudson, funneled at least $250,000 to Multisense, a company that provided assistance to students who were in the program. Multisense is owned by Grupo Sense. Tim Hudson sat on Grupo Sense’s board at one time, according to the audit.

He also hired Pablo Rubio, the son of Grupo Sense’s CEO Alfonso Rubio, to a $70,000 per year job working out of the chancellor’s office, according to the audit. Emails revealed that Hudson was in contact in October 2015 with a businessman in Spain to discuss the Spanish language program on the proposed ASU-Mexico campus that the university has partnered to build in Mexico. At one point, the businessman tells Hudson he would be interested in overseeing the program.

Hudson also received free trips abroad, a violation of state law. He also tried to use his position to influence several medical school admission offices to accept a relative at a reduced tuition cost. These, and other acts by Hudson, could be violations of Arkansas ethics laws. His case is still under prosecutorial review.

Hudson was hired in February as the interim executive director for the Center for Extended and International Education at Austin Peay State University. Austin Peay officials have acknowledged that Hudson was forthcoming about his tenure at ASU, and they are aware of his pending, potential legal issues.