More than 40 seek presidency of SCSU

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

South Carolina State University has a large, diverse pool of applicants desiring to be the university's 10th president, says SCSU Board of Trustees Chairman Maurice Washington.

"We're very encouraged," Washington said after the SCSU presidential search committee emerged from a 2.5-hour executive session Monday morning.

Washington, who also chairs the search committee, said more than 40 applicants have filed for the position.

No deadline has been established for the committee to stop receiving applications, but its members will begin reviewing applications on March 24. The university has set a target date of July 1 to name a new president.

SCSU's top administrative position has garnered interest from current and former university presidents, vice presidents, deans and individuals from the corporate sector, Washington said. The search has generated responses from across the nation.

Academic Search Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based firm, is assisting the university with the search. Thus far, Academic Search says SCSU's list of potential presidents is very impressive, Washington said.

He said that with the high quality of the candidates the position has attracted, narrowing down the field will be a tough task. However, that is a good problem to have, Washington says.

"We want there to be some difficulty in terms of narrowing the field," he said.

Washington said that during the executive session, the committee discussed the qualities members desire in the new president, as well as the need to keep the candidates' names confidential at this juncture. He said that ensuring the transparency and fairness of the process was also discussed.

Qualities the committee would like to see in the new president include: the ability to raise funds and put together a strong team, an understanding of higher education and a strong background in finance and leadership.

By the end of March, the committee hopes to narrow the field to between eight to 10 candidates.

On April 19, the committee will begin conducting preliminary interviews to further whittle down the field to five candidates or less. The names of those finalists will be made public and the candidates will be invited to campus, to be further interviewed and meet with community stakeholders.

At that point, the SCSU board will take over the process to find a permanent replacement for former President Dr. Andrew Hugine. The SCSU board decided to not renew Hugine's contract last December and placed him on administrative leave. Trustees tapped Dr. Leonard McIntyre to serve as interim president.

The committee's next meeting is scheduled for March 31.