Georgia Southern on course to select new president this semester

Tandra Smith

As the Spring semester begins, Georgia Southern continues to be on track to select a new president by July 1 of this year as interviews with top candidates begin next month.

The search began on July 2015, when Dr. Brooks Keel, former president of Georgia Southern University, became the new president at Georgia Regents University, now Augusta University.

On January 6, the website, georgiasouthern.edu/president-search/, dedicated to the presidential search was updated, adding a few new dates to its timeline.

On February 17 and 18, the first round of interviews with the search committee will take place and the weeks of February 29 and March 7, the semi-finalists will visit the campus to meet with various staff, faculty, and students.

Due to state law, the exact names of the individuals applying for this job are not allowed to be revealed.

However, the search committee still plans to let the campus meet each of the semi-finalists.

“We want to get a lot of input from different stakeholder groups so we make a good and informed decision about those [individuals],” Steve Vives, department chair of biology, said.

According to a press release by the university, the committee is comprised of 18 different members, with the head of the committee being a Statesboro resident.

“Led by Regent Lori Durden, who lives in Statesboro, there is comprehensive representation of faculty, staff, alumni, students, the foundation, the Statesboro community and the Board of Regents, and their roles in this search are critical to the future of Georgia Southern University,” Neil Pruitt, chairman of the Board of Regents, said.

There are at least 25 candidates and more are expected by January 28, the initial deadline for applications. On this date, the university will begin to look at applications, but the position will be open until it is filled. The search committee could consider reviewing later applications.

“The committee will start going through the files and in mid-February [the committee] will have selected a subset of applicants to interview at the Atlanta airport. It will likely be about 8-12 [individuals],” Vives said.

Around late February to late March, a set of applicants from the interviews that occur at the airport will come visit the campus. This is also around the time where the campus community will get more involved with the selection process.

Once the Board of Regents receives the list of the three to five people, they will then select a new president.

Administration hires will begin on July 1, but it’s possible for the selected presidential candidate to begin working before that date.

“July 1st is a preferred start date, but the Board of Regents sets the negotiations. It depends on the individual’s schedule.” Vives said.

Current interim president, Dr. Jean Bartels, is unable to apply for president due to a Board of Regents policy. However, despite this policy, Bartels is expected to contribute to the selection process of the new president.