The search for the next University of South Alabama president moved a step forward on Tuesday afternoon when the executive committee of the school’s board of trustees named a national search firm to take up the task.
The search for a new leader began after current President Tony Waldrop announced his retirement in February. Waldrop had been with the school since 2014.
Board of Trustees Chairman Jimmy Shumock told members of the executive committee a search committee had “overwhelmingly” approved of the firm of Funk & Associates to conduct a nationwide search for a new president. The selection was approved unanimously by the executive committee. Shumock said the university used Funk & Associates to find Waldrop.
“They’ve done a number of major searches over the years since then and even before,” he said. “They have a really good resume.”
The committee also approved a budget of $200,000 for the search process. Like the use of Funk, the budgeted amount is very similar to what was spent in the search for Waldrop.
“That should carry us through this process,” Shumock said in the Zoom-enabled virtual meeting. “I think that would be plenty to get us to completion.”
Shumock then described the process to committee members. He said it would have elements of confidentiality as well as openness. The confidentiality would come into play when discussing particular candidates for the job during the search process, he said.
“In getting a good candidate — when you’re looking for a job you don’t want everyone to know you’re looking for a job,” he said.
However, Shumock said the group wanted to be as open as possible when it comes to the campus community and various stakeholders involved in the process.
“We want to make sure the campus community is informed and will help us with trying to evaluate what we want in a candidate,” he said.
Shumock said the board wanted to make sure the interim president would be included among the candidates for the permanent job. As for compensation related to the job, Shumock said that could be a discussion for the board’s June meeting.
“We need to consult with the search firm in order to get their feedback on what they expect the compensation to be,” he said.
Working with the search firm, Shumock said, the search committee will whittle down a list of possible candidates to three to five finalists. Those finalists will come to Mobile for interviews by the full board. A vote of the simple majority of the board will elect the new president, Shumock said.
Candidates’ names will become public once they’ve been selected for interviews by the board, as all of the board’s meetings are subject to the state’s open meetings law. The search committee, whose meetings are not subject to state law, will help schedule interviews with the candidates.
Executive committee member Abe Mitchell suggested a Ph.D. not be a requirement for the position and a candidate with medical experience be given preference due to the important role the medical school plays for the university as a whole.
“The medical side dwarfs most everything else,” he said.
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