The presidential search committee has begun the process of selecting a new university president, who is scheduled to take office July 1.
President Robert Henry announced his retirement in a June 8 email, saying he planned to step down officially in June 2018 after his eighth year in the position. After his announcement, he took a medical leave that began Aug. 8. Henry is back in Oklahoma City and is again the university’s acting president.
Committee members had two meetings during Henry’s absence this semester, one to plan search efforts and another to interview search firms. The search firm will sort through potential candidates for a few months before providing the committee with the initial pool of candidates. The committee will interview selected candidates from that pool.
“The search firm will provide us with an undetermined number of candidates, probably around a half-dozen,” said Ron Norick, chairman of the board of trustees.
Norick chairs the search committee, and Kelli Rhodes-Stevens, dance professor, serves as vice chairwoman. Trustees on the committee are Martha Burger, Phil G. Busey Sr., Jane Jayroe Gamble, Gary Homsey, Ann Johnstone, Bill Junk, and Bishop Jimmy Nunn.
Full-time faculty members on the committee are nursing Professor Diana Blackmon, theater Professor Jason Foreman, business Professor Meredith Wegner, and religion Professor Leslie Long.
General Counsel Casey Ross, nursing Dean Lois Salmeron and Joey Croslin, chief human resources officer, make up the rest of the committee.
Once the committee is happy with their selections, they will submit one to three candidates to the executive committee for final approval before the decision goes to the board of trustees. A candidate probably will be chosen by April 18, Norick said.
“Everything we do is confidential because our candidates are probably currently employed,” Norick said.
Successful applicants must be an age at which they can fulfill the role well. Other necessary qualities include experience in another academic position and the ability to run a large institution and fundraise, Norick said.
Students have their own requests for new presidential candidates.
“I want someone who can think in the long-term and the short-term future,” said John Metcalf, acting sophomore.
Quinn Weedon, English senior, said she wants someone innovative and present.
“I want a new president who isn’t afraid to come talk to students and engage in their interests and concerns,” she said.