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Forums seek priorities for new GSU president
Ads give Jan. 28 as preferred deadline for candidates
GSU.3D EagleHead

A job ad seeking Georgia Southern University’s next president carries a soft deadline of Jan. 28 for applications and nominations. Meanwhile, the campus-based search committee continues to gather community input on which qualities are most desired in a candidate.

The committee hosted an open forum for this purpose Monday morning in the Biological Sciences Building and another Wednesday afternoon at the Russell Union. A third forum is scheduled for 12:30-1:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in Room 2911 of the GSU Performing Arts Center. The forums are open to “all the stakeholder groups,” including the public, said biology professor Dr. Stephen Vives, who chairs the campus committee.

“These are meetings with faculty and staff, alumni, foundation members, the community, just to ask if they were in our shoes how would they screen applications,” he said.

Meanwhile, Parker Executive Search, the Atlanta-based firm hired by the regents to help conduct the nationwide search, has distributed an ad seeking letters of nomination as well as applications.

Dr. Jean Bartels, previously GSU provost and vice president for academic affairs, is currently serving as interim president after Dr. Brooks Keel, Georgia Southern's president for more than five years, left in early July to become president of Georgia Regents University in Augusta. 

The ad, officially a position description, gives the Parker Executive Search address and names three of the firm’s staff members as contacts.

“It is preferred” that any documents be submitted before Jan. 28, the ad states. But it also indicates that the search will continue until someone is hired.

Both the committee and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia had input on the content of the ad, Vives said. It lists just four required qualifications: an earned doctorate, a record of scholarly achievement, a track record of achievement in higher education leadership and a commitment to student success.


Preferred qualities

Twelve “preferred” qualifications are also listed.

A few of these include:

The ability to recognize, articulate, celebrate and reinforce university traditions of kindness, civility, collegiality, shared governance, student involvement in decision­-making and engagement with students;

Strong fiscal skills … and knowledge of best practices in managing university finances;

A demonstrated record of success in developing and retaining a diverse faculty, staff and student body;

Commitment to building a supportive culture and resources for faculty scholarship and increasing undergraduate and graduate student research;

Experience managing/championing diversity and transcultural opportunities.

At the first two forums, the committee handed out the full list of required and preferred qualifications and asked for feedback.

“The reaction somewhat matched their particular interests,” Vives said. “So, you know, faculty talked mostly about faculty support and development and student success, and we had folks from Student Affairs also talk about student success and transcultural opportunities, classes abroad, that type of thing.”

A few more than 30 people, mostly faculty members, attended Wednesday’s forum. Some expressed the desire for a president to be a fundraising leader, others for an academic leader with teaching experience.

Other than the forums, since the organizational meeting Sept. 30, the committee has held a single conference call with the search firm for updates related to things such as getting the ads out, Vives said. He and a few other committee members also held a focus group with some Statesboro-Bulloch Chamber of Commerce members over opportunities and challenges foreseen for the next GSU president.


Tentative timeline

Officially, the 18-member campus-based panel is the Presidential Search and Screening Committee.  At the organizational meeting, University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby told the committee its assignment is to recommend three to five candidates, no more and no less, without ranking them.

A Board of Regents committee, chaired by 12th District Regent Lori Durden, a GSU alumna and Statesboro resident, will review the recommendations, but the full board will make the final hiring decision.

The position description can be found at

A timeline there states that all nominations and resumes received will be provided to the search and screening committee in late January, along with Parker Executive Search’s recommendation of approximately eight candidates. From there, the timeline allows more uncertainty, stating that the committee “may” choose about eight candidates for initial interviews in early February and may select five for campus interviews in mid-February.

March is the month slated for the committee to submit its list of three to five unranked candidates to the regents and for a public release of information about the finalists.

Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.



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