Dr. Paul Beran is stepping down Aug. 31 as chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith to take on a new job as executive director and CEO of the South Dakota Higher Education Board of Regents, according to a statement Friday (July 27) from UAFS.
In his new role, with oversight from the South Dakota Higher Education Board of Regents, Beran will oversee six higher education institutions in the state of South Dakota, including the flagship and regional state universities, as well as the South Dakota School for the Deaf and the South Dakota School for the Blind. Additionally, he will work with all arms of state government, including the governor and state and federal legislators and the state superintendent in charge of public schools and technical two-year schools.
Beran will also serve as the advocate for higher education across the state; serve as the ombudsman for cooperation and development with business, industry, and agriculture; and work with the university presidents to grow retention and degree attainment and expand research and the corresponding entrepreneurial opportunities that will stimulate economic growth in the state of South Dakota.
Beran became the chancellor in July 2006. During that time, UAFS transitioned more fully from a two-year college to a master’s degree-granting regional university. The UAFS statement noted that his tenure included “an expansion of bachelor’s degree programs, a renovation and expansion of Boreham Library, the university’s move to NCAA Division II athletics, the construction of Windgate Art & Design and the Recreation and Wellness Center, and the graduation of thousands of students over the last twelve years.”
“Having the chance to grow UAFS into a premier regional institution has been one of the most rewarding endeavors of my career,” Beran said. “I am enormously thankful for this community, the employees of this university, Dr. (Donald) Bobbitt and the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees for this amazing opportunity. … Janice and I have come to love Arkansas, and we hate to leave all our friends and colleagues behind.”
Bobbitt, the UA System president, said the search begins for the next UAFS chancellor.
“I want to thank Dr. Beran for his commitment and hard work toward making UAFS an attractive, state-of-the-art educational option for Arkansans, and an important contributor to the UA System’s institutional portfolio. I wish him much success in this new professional challenge as we look to find someone to continue building upon the strong foundation Dr. Beran has put in place.”
UPDATED INFO: Nate Hinkel, director of communications for the UA System, said it’s too early to know details on the replacement process, but that Bobbitt will likely appoint an interim chancellor during the search process. Hinkel also said a search committee will be formed.
“A search committee made up of faculty, staff, and community and business stakeholders will be named to aid the President in ultimately making a recommendation to the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas. It won’t be before the fall semester begins, but it will likely be an ongoing process during that timeframe through the end of the year,” Hinkel noted.
He also said finalists may also make campus visits before a new chancellor is named.
“In the past, once interviews are done and the search committee narrows the pool, a small group of finalists are presented to Dr. Bobbitt and campus visits are scheduled, ultimately leading to Dr. Bobbitt making a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. I expect that will be the case in the search for Dr. Beran’s replacement at UAFS.”