The university and community public will have an opportunity Monday to meet the first of five candidates for the job of president of Georgia Southern University.
In fact, Dr. Timothy C. Caboni, currently vice chancellor for public affairs at the University of Kansas, is scheduled to visit Georgia Southern and Statesboro from Sunday through Tuesday. But the most obviously public event will be the open forum, 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday in the Carol A. Carter Recital Hall inside the Foy Building at 84 Georgia Ave.
The other four candidates are slated to appear for similar three-day visits, in rapid succession, from Tuesday, March 1, through March 11. Not until Monday morning will the campus-based Presidential Search and Screen Committee announce the second candidate, who will appear for a similar three-day visit, Tuesday through Thursday, March 1-3, said the committee’s chair, Dr. Stephen Vives.
“We were pleased with the larger group that we interviewed, and we had a tough time narrowing down,” Vives said Friday. “We’re bringing a diversity of candidates to campus. They all have their particular strengths, and we were impressed by them.”
The third candidate’s identity is slated to be released Tuesday morning, and that candidate plans to visit campus Wednesday through Friday, March 2-4. The remaining two candidates have visits scheduled March 6-8 and 9-11.
Vives said the committee finished scheduling the visits with the candidates only this week. This followed “airport interviews,” at a hotel within sight of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Feb. 17 and 18. From eight to 12 applicants from around the country traveled to Atlanta for these interviews, Vives said.
Parker Executive Search, the Atlanta-based firm assisting with the hunt, asked him not to be more specific than “eight to 12” about the number of candidates interviewed in Atlanta, he said. All 18 members of the campus committee took part in the interviews, said Vives, a professor who also chairs the GSU biology department.
Caboni is scheduled to arrive Sunday for a campus and community tour. Monday, he is scheduled to meet interim President Jean Bartels and the president’s cabinet in the morning and to have lunch with students leaders and a meeting with academic deans before the 4 p.m. forum. A by-invitation community reception with government, civic, foundation and alumni leaders is slated to be held at the Bishop Alumni Center after the forum. Tuesday, Caboni is scheduled to appear in a one-hour faculty forum beginning at 8 a.m. in the ballroom of the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center.
Previously an associate dean at Vanderbilt University, Caboni has been public affairs vice chancellor at the University of Kansas since June 2011. He holds a doctorate in higher education leadership and policy from Vanderbilt, a master’s in corporate and organizational communication from Western Kentucky University and a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and rhetoric from Louisiana State University.
His curriculum vitae, in other words his career history, can be found through the webpage www.georgiasouthern.edu/presidential-search by clicking on “candidates” under more information. This goes first to a partial itinerary for his visit. Similar information is to be posted about the other candidates. A comment form, provided under the candidate’s itinerary, allows people who identify an event they attended with the candidate to record observed strengths and weaknesses and other comments.
The university plans to post video of the open forum on the search site by 10 a.m. the next day, said GSU Communications Director Jennifer Wise.
So far, on schedule
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia appointed the Presidential Search and Screen Committee to begin the search after the departure of former GSU President Brooks Keel last July. Keel, who had been president of Georgia Southern since 2010, resigned to become president of Georgia Regents University in Augusta, now renamed again as simply Augusta University.
The campus committee’s task is not to name a president or select a single finalist. Instead, University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby directed the committee to identify a list of three to five people who would be acceptable in the post, without ranking them.
So it’s possible that the committee could forward the names of all five candidates now visiting campus to the Board of Regents, which will make the actual hiring decision. But the committee could also narrow the list after the visits, or it could be faced with bringing in other candidates if some withdraw.
“They’re all well established and happy where they are, so they’re interviewing us at the same time we’re interviewing them,” Vives said. “It’s not uncommon, I guess, for somebody to decide to withdraw after the campus visits, but we hope that’s not the case.”
He said the campus committee plans to deliver the three to five names by mid-March to the Special Regents Search Committee, chaired by Regent Lori Durden of Statesboro.
The search would then be on track for the regents to have a new GSU president in place by July 1, as planned.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.