Committee begins to narrow search for next UAFS chancellor

by Tina Alvey Dale (tdale@talkbusiness.net) 641 views 

The Chancellor Search Committee made strides to narrow the field of applicants for the chancellor position at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith when the group met Wednesday (Feb. 20).

The committee, appointed by University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald Bobbitt, includes individuals from the university, community and region. They are tasked with identifying qualified candidates for the position that was vacated when Dr. Paul Beran left Aug. 31 to take on a new job as executive director and CEO of the South Dakota Higher Education Board of Regents.

Interim Chancellor Dr. Edward Serna, who took the interim position Sept. 1, is one of 17 so far to apply for the job at the institution with 5,840 students and 914 faculty and staff.

The starting salary is not being published, according to Nate Hinkel, UA System director of communications, noting that compensation will be based on the qualifications of the selected person. Beran, who served as chancellor for 12 years, was earning $224,910 when he left the position.

“It was a good meeting. There was lots of good discussion,” said Dr. Margaret Tanner, associate provost for academic affairs and director of graduate studies and committee chair. “We evaluated all the material and have a preliminary idea of the folks who will move to the next step.”

The next step in the process is to bring in identified candidates for the first round of interviews. Tanner said they hope to start those interviews in the “next couple of weeks,” though she would not comment on who those candidates would be or give a number of applicants who have moved to the short list.

“Upon completion of the campus interviews and compilation of input from stakeholder groups, the search committee will provide information on the qualified candidates to Bobbitt for his consideration and deliberation by the Board of Trustees,” the UAFS website states.

Greenwood/Asher & Associates Inc. a search firm based in Miramar Beach, Fla., is assisting in the chancellor search. The firm will be paid about $84,000.

Members of the UAFS Board of Visitors, who met for their regular board meeting Wednesday, said they hoped the new chancellor will be someone ready to propel UAFS forward while understanding the importance it has to the city and region.

“(We want) someone who will understand the work that has been done on the strategic plan and be able to really fully implement all of these new programs, someone who understands our demographics but is willing to work to reach other demographics and take us from a regionally known institution to a nationally known institution,” said board secretary Cathy Williams.

Board of Visitors President Michael Barr said he was pleased to see that two members of the university administration and faculty — Serna and Ron Darbeau, professor and dean of College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at UAFS — applied for the position.

“Obviously we want what is best for the university. We want to find a very good candidate,” Barr said. “We see the results that are happening here (at UAFS) and we’re very encouraged by what is going on. So to see Dr. Darbeau’s name and Dr. Serna’s name on the list made me feel very good about the process. Not to say those other candidates aren’t going to be great candidates. We just really want to see a really great hire that is a good fit for our university.”

Tanner said the committee understands there may be more applications over the next several days.

“If there are additional individuals interested in the position, we will discuss them and evaluate the materials submitted. We may need to add to our list of first-round interviews,” Tanner said.
“What we have seen is a strong group. There are some very strong candidates and folks to interview.”

Following are the other applicants to date.
• Tyler Adams, executive dean of continuing education and lifelong learning and professor of communication at University of Bahamas
• Safran Almakaty, unemployed
• Timothy Cornelius, academic vice president of career and workforce education at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville
• Joe Delap, vice president for academic affairs and tenured professor at Athens State University in Athens, Ala.
• Ron Dempsey, vice president for university advancement at Winona State University in Winona, Minn.
• Charalobos (Haris) Doumanidis, vice provost for research and interim dean of school of mining and geosciences at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan
• Rick Kurtz, professor at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio
• Lewis Jones, senior consultant and chair of board of advisors with International Group for Educational Transfer
• Kimberly Long, provost and vice president for academic affairs and professor of psychology at Newman University in Wichita, Kan.
• Bruce McGowan, campus provost/associate vice president at Rogers State University – Bartlesville, Okla., Campus
• Scott McKay, provost/vice president for academic affairs and professor of chemistry at Dakota State University in Maddison, S.D.
• William (Bill) McKinney, senior advisor for regional campus affairs at Indiana University
• Dirk Schlingmann, professor in the division of mathematics and computer science at University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C.
• Phillip Way, provost and vice president for academic affairs and student affairs at Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Penn.
• Clifford Wittstruck, dean of academics at Western Wyoming Community College in Laramie, Wyo.

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