Southern Arkansas University names individuals to presidential search committee

File photo
File photo

Southern Arkansas University said Thursday it will conduct its own search for a new president, not hire an executive search firm as trustees originally said in November.

In an announcement Thursday, the 5,127-student university named the individuals who will serve on the presidential search committee.

The committee, made up of leaders from the SAU system and supporting boards, will work closely with Roger Giles, SAU's vice president for administration and general counsel, to help find a replacement for Trey Berry, who left the presidency to become Henderson State University chancellor on Jan. 1. David Rankin, who retired as SAU president on June 30, 2015, and is SAU President Emeritus, is filling in temporarily as SAU president.

The SAU search committee will solicit nominations, review applications and conduct interviews with potential candidates. Input from various stakeholders -- faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members -- will be sought throughout the process.

"We will not be utilizing an external search firm for this search process," said Shelly Whaley, executive director of communications and marketing at SAU, in an email Thursday. "We are excited about the committee the Board of Trustees selected and this distinguished group's leadership level. Under their leadership, we are confident that we will have a successful search for our next leader of SAU."

Whaley added that the university is developing a web page to help inform the greater SAU community about the search process. Meanwhile, the university has been sending periodic announcements about it.

Once the search process is completed, the committee will recommend finalists to the board of trustees, who will make the final hiring decision.

— Monty Harrington, an SAU board of trustee member from Magnolia, will serve as chairman of the search committee. Other members are:

— Donna Allen, vice president for student affairs.

— Shawana Reed, vice president for finance.

— Jennifer Rowsam, dean, Dempsey College of Liberal and Performing Arts.

— Robin Sronce, dean, Rankin College of Business.

— Abraham Tucker, faculty senate president.

— Margarita Norment, staff senate president.

— Mahbub Ahmed, associate professor, chairman of the Engineering and Physics Department.

— Neelie Dobbins, professor of education, chairman of the Teacher Education Department.

— Sarah Jennings, associate vice president for Enrollment Services.

— Cledis Stuart, associate dean of Multiculturalism and Diversity.

— Steve Browning, director of athletics.

— Bailey Cole, Student Government Association president.

— Valarie Wilson, SAU Tech Vice Chancellor for Academics/chief academic officer.

— Jennifer Pearce, chairman of the Foundation Board.

— Ledly Jennings, chairman of the Alumni Association Board.

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