Vacancy prompts yet another chancellor search
After two terms of interim leadership, and with the position soon to be vacant, UAF is once again looking to fill the position of chancellor.
This will be the second search for a permanent UAF chancellor in as many years. A previous search resulted in no hires, and the search was suspended as the board of regents mulled unifying the UA campuses under statewide leadership. Dana Thomas was selected as the second interim chancellor in as many years to fill the gap.
This search will be more locally focused with lower overhead than the last search, according to Johnsen. The previous search was carried out on a national scale.
“I’m not going to spend $100,000 on our search to help us with this,” UA President Jim Johnsen said. “We’re going to be a little lower key and get the word out through less formal channels.”
Given the localized search, the position is being prominently advertised.
“It’s being advertised in the Chronicle of Higher Education and that’s the important one,” Johnsen said. “That’s where people look.”
Johnsen met with a collection of notable UAF alumni in Anchorage last week to gather their input on who they feel should be sought out for the position.
While the student body has adjusted to the recent tradition of a different chancellor each year, for three years now, it seems some students are hoping for a more permanent leadership figure on campus.
“I feel like a permanent [chancellor] would be a much better fit,” Selina Sam, a senior in rural development said. “It would be nice to finally settle on some kind of solid leadership rather than jumping from one to another.”
Jeremiah Klejka, a senior information technology student, has reservations about the search, however.
“I think we need to make ourselves look more appealing to potential chancellor candidates,” Klejka said. “It’s not good to see so much instability within the university because we won’t attract quality help. It’s hard to find someone to come in and help fix all our problems.”
Current Interim Chancellor Thomas will be resuming his retirement at the end of this semester, which he left to fill this post, he said.
“Dana and [his wife] Kay have done so much for this university for so long, and I can’t thank him enough for coming back in to help us over this past year,” Johnsen said, “but I think he has a well deserved retirement ahead of him. This is very hard work in very hard times.”
Prior to Thomas’ stint as interim chancellor, Mike Powers held the position for a year following the retirement of long time permanent chancellor, Brian Rogers.
The search is currently under way with hopes to be concluded by the end of this semester, Johnsen said. While no major potential was mentioned, Johnsen feels sure the position will be filled soon.
“We’re sitting at the number one research university in the Arctic and I feel confident that we will get some really high quality interest,” Johnsen said.
If all goes as planned, students will be introduced to a new and permanent chancellor at the start of Fall semester 2017.