New president to be selected next semester

Jozsef Papp

The search for a new permanent president at Georgia Southern is currently being conducted with the final selection expected by the end of the spring semester. After Brooks Keel left, Jean Bartels was named interim president during the summer by University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor, Hank Huckaby. However, the job is open to anybody. 

The Board of Regents, along with the Chancellors office, is in charge of the whole selection process and have assigned two committees: an on-campus committee, the President Screen and Search committee, and the Special Regents committee. They both have different roles in the selection process.

“The on-campus committee’s responsibility is to screen the initial set of applications that come in. Eventually, we will turn three to five names to the Special Regents Committee,” said Steve Vives, chair of the on-campus committee, said. “The Special Regents Committee will be responsible for naming the finalist and selecting the president.”

The on-campus committee consists of a total of 18 members, in which are distributed among faculty, staff, administrators, students, alumni, and community members, according to Vives.

Although the selection is being made by the Board of Regents, people can nominate anybody they see worthy of being president, as long as they meet the required qualifications, and the on-campus committee will select three to five from all the candidates. The preferred deadline for nominations is Jan. 28, 2016.

“Our advertisement is out now. People can apply or be nominated, so if anybody knows of a good candidate for president, they can contact the search firm, Parker Executive Search that is helping Georgia Southern,” said Vives. “You can submit a name to Parker Executive Search, then they will see if that person is interested and will submit an application.”

Although Bartels was appointed interim president, she will not be among the nominees because of Board of Regents policy, but it’s expected to have an input in the selection. 

“The Board of Regents policy manual specifies that an interim president cannot apply for the permanent position,” said Vives. “I suppose she would have input as any other stakeholder group. Our Presidential Screen and Search committee will try to get as much input as we can from different groups.”

By state law, all of the names of applicants for a presidential position are protected. Nevertheless, the committee plans to let the campus community meet the semi-finalists.

“There can be a step where a small group of semifinalist come to campus and interview. Of course, at that point, they would be known. That is the procedure we plan to follow, so the campus community would have a chance to meet the small group,” said Vives. “Then, the institutional committee would get input from the stakeholder groups.”

The final nominees are expected to be selected in early March with the new president taking the post on July 1, 2016, after negotiations.