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Four finalists for the top leadership position at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith will visit the campus beginning Monday.

The group announced Wednesday comprises three chief academic officers and a top student-affairs leader. They now work at campuses in Missouri, Texas, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

The candidates are:

• Robert Marley, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, Missouri University of Science and Technology.

• Terisa C. Riley, senior vice president for student affairs and university administration, Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

• Philip K. Way, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.

• Marilyn J. Wells, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Wells will be the first campus visitor, with a public forum scheduled for 3:45 p.m. Monday at the UAFS Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center.

Other public forums for candidates will take place at the same location and at the same time of day, with Marley visiting Thursday; Way visiting April 1; and Riley visiting April 4.

The candidates are seeking to replace former UAFS Chancellor Paul Beran, who left last year after serving as top campus leader since 2006. Beran began Sept. 1 as executive director of the South Dakota board of regents.

The approximately 6,500-student UAFS campus had two internal candidates not named as finalists: Edward Serna, interim chancellor, and Ron Darbeau, dean of the UAFS College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and the School of Education.

A 17-person search committee appointed by University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt reviewed candidates. Margaret Tanner, UAFS associate provost for academic affairs, served as chairman for the group.

A list released under the state's public-disclosure law last month included 17 candidates, but Tanner described a wider pool of people wanting to know more about the job.

"Initially, we had 45 to 50 individuals that expressed interest in the position of Chancellor at UAFS. We narrowed the field to 12 individuals with which to have a conversation earlier this month," Tanner said in an email.

In a statement, Bobbitt praised the finalists as "highly qualified."

"I'm confident that all four finalists in this extremely talented group have the skills and experience to thrive as the next UAFS chancellor, and I believe that all four have an understanding and appreciation of the important role this university plays in that growing region and within our University system," Bobbitt said.

The search committee advises Bobbitt, who in a July interview said it would be important for the next chancellor to have an interest in economic development because of the university's role in the Fort Smith community.

Named to the committee were two Fort Smith city officials: Mayor George McGill, also a member of the UAFS board of visitors, and Vice Mayor Kevin Settle.

Tanner, in an email, said each of the finalists has "extensive senior leadership experience in higher education."

Marley began his role as chief academic officer in July 2014 at the approximately 7,700-student Missouri University of Science and Technology, joining the school from Montana State University, where he served as dean of the engineering college from 2001-2013 and then as interim vice president for student success from 2013-14.

Marley began as a faculty member at Montana State University in 1990. He earned three degrees from Wichita State University, including a doctorate in industrial engineering.

In 2014, Marley was one of four announced finalists for the top leadership position at Arkansas Tech University. The job went to Robin Bowen.

Riley in July 2007 first joined the approximately 8,700-student Texas A&M University-Kingsville to serve as vice president for student affairs.

Before that, she worked for two years as assistant vice president for student services at the University of South Dakota. She also worked from 2001-05 as director of operations and judicial affairs at Saint Louis University, and has worked as director of student development at Central Methodist University in Missouri.

Riley earned a bachelor's degree in communication and a master's degree in higher education administration from the University of Missouri, and a doctorate in higher education administration from Saint Louis University.

Way began as the top academic officer at the approximately 8,300-student Slippery Rock in 2013, adding student-affairs responsibilities a year later. Slippery Rock University is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and Way served as the university's interim president from July 2017 until June of last year.

Way previously worked at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as an associate provost for undergraduate programs. Before that, he worked from 1985-2006 as a faculty member in the Department of Economics at the University of Cincinnati, where he also served as director of graduate studies from 2003-05.

Way earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He also earned a master's degree in industrial relations and a doctorate in industrial and business studies from the University of Warwick, located in the United Kingdom.

Wells began in 2013 as the top academic officer for the approximately 14,700-student Minnesota State University, Mankato. Previously, Wells from 2008-13 was vice provost and graduate dean at East Stroudsburg University, a part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. She also worked as a faculty member from 1999 to 2008 at Hampton University in Virginia, including three years as chairman chair of the university's Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department.

Wells earned a bachelor's degree in home economics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She also earned the master's degrees in health education and public health from East Stroudsburg University and a doctorate in health education from Southern Illinois University.

Metro on 03/23/2019

Print Headline: 4 finalists selected for post at UAFS


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