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ETSU president candidates narrowed to eight

October 17th, 2011 4:16 pm by Rex Barber

Eight of the 49 candidates who applied to become East Tennessee State University’s ninth president were invited to the campus Wednesday and Thursday for face-to-face interviews.
The presidential search advisory committee, comprised of school, community and Tennessee Board of Regents representatives, met Monday on campus to review candidate materials and vote on whom to advance to the next step, which is round one of interviews.
The following candidates were selected to move forward in the selection process:
n Ronald Brown, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Wayne State University
n Robert Frank, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Kent State University
n Richard Manahan, vice president for University Advancement and president/CEO of the Foundation at ETSU
n Jack Maynard, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Indiana State University
n Brian Noland, chancellor at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
n Sandra Patterson-Randles, president of Indiana University Southeast
n Cheryl Scheid, vice chancellor for Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs and dean at University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center
n Michael Wartell, chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
The 20 committee members narrowed the 49 applicants to 16 after meeting in four groups, each charged with scrutinizing about 12 of the candidates. A simple majority vote was then required to advance each of the 16 candidates.
Frank of Kent State was the only candidate to receive every committee member’s vote.
Manahan, the internal candidate chosen of two who applied, received 65 percent of the vote to move forward in a face-to-face interview.
Before the vote, committee member Jim Bitter, ETSU Faculty Senate representative and professor in the department of human development and learning, said Manahan could be a polarizing candidate, saying some faculty members would not be supportive of his presidency.
Tom Griscom, a TBR representative on the committee, and other committee members voiced support for Manahan, arguing he is a strong fundraiser. Griscom said also it was a good idea to have a person with strong connections to the university as a candidate.
Discussion of each of the 16 candidates occurred prior to voting. Committee member Thomas Schacht, ETSU psychiatry professor and Faculty Senate president, had conducted research and had information on many of the candidates, including an alleged plagiarism charge against one candidate. That person did not move forward.
Committee members brought up points throughout the discussion on what should be the criteria in selecting the next president.
Some of those criteria included support of shared governance of the university, an interest in academics as well as perhaps health affairs, experience with fundraising, the importance of regional economic development and an understanding of the Complete College Tennessee Act.
Following is the percentage of votes for the other six candidates chosen to move forward in the process:
n Brown: 95 percent
n Maynard: 60 percent
n Noland: 55 percent
n Patterson-Randles: 65 percent
n Scheid: 75 percent
n Wartell: 80 percent
Wednesday’s meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the A and B ballrooms in the Millennium Centre. This location was chosen to accommodate webcasts of some of the interviews. This and subsequent meeetings are open to the public as observers.
The committee will agree on a set of at least 12 questions to ask each candidate first thing Wednesday. Each interview should last about an hour and 15 minutes.
From Wednesday and Thursday’s interviews a pool of finalists will be asked to return to campus next week for meetings with campus groups, including faculty, staff and students.
TBR Chancellor John Morgan will then take input from the committee on the finalists and recommend a candidate to the full Board for approval or rejection.
Current ETSU President Paul E. Stanton Jr. announced earlier this year he would retire in January. He has been president since 1997.

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