Included on a 16-member search committee named to help hire a University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS) chancellor are ArcBest Chairman, President and CEO Judy McReynolds, and Fort Smith Mayor-elect George McGill.
University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald Bobbitt on Friday (Oct. 19) announced the committee and named Dr. Margaret Tanner, associate provost for academic affairs at UAFS, as committee chair.
“We will carefully take the effort and time needed to find the right fit to lead UAFS into the future,” Bobbitt said in a statement. “I’m grateful that all of the members identified to be a part of this search committee agreed to give their time to participate in this important process. I know they will each be integral pieces to the large puzzle of identifying well-qualified candidates for the position.”
Bobbitt also noted in the statement the search goal is to move in a “timely manner,” but he has not set a “strict timeline” for the search committee.
The committee members are:
• Tommy Boyer, member of the UA Board of Trustees;
• Dr. Paul Hankins, dean of the College of Communications, Languages, Arts and Social Sciences;
• Kimi Hayden, representing UAFS staff;
• Dr. Debbie Koch, associate professor of nursing;
• Jeremy May, representing UAFS Alumni;
• McGill, who also is a member of the UAFS Board of Visitors, and a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives;
• McReynolds, who also is a member of the UAFS Foundation Board;
• Melissa Rust, representing the UA System;
• Fort Smith City Director Kevin Settle;
• Dr. David Stevens, dean of students;
• Dr. Todd Timmons, professor of history;
• Dr. Micki Voelkel, interim associate dean, College of Applied Science and Technology;
• Robert Wilson, controller, Office of Finance and Administration;
• Dr. Julie Wright, associate professor of accounting; and
• Dr. Linus Yu, department head, College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Tanner said a professional academic search firm will be hired in the coming weeks to help in the search.
“We have a big task in front of us, but I’m confident that our committee will tackle it with diligence and enthusiasm,” Tanner said. “The chancellor position at UAFS is critical not only for the success of our campus but for the entire Fort Smith community. I know I speak for all our members in saying that we are excited to embark on this process.”
Former UAFS Chancellor Dr. Paul Beran announced earlier this year he was leaving for a higher education role in South Dakota. Beran had been at UAFS for 12 years. His last day as chancellor was Aug. 31.
Beran was hired to 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.
Dr. Edward Serna, chief of staff and vice chancellor for strategic initiatives at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, was named interim university chancellor by Bobbitt.