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Search for New Chancellor Continues

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Howard Brill

Law professor Howard Brill left his position as the chancellor search committee chair to become an Arkansas Supreme Court chief  justice.

The search committee for the next chancellor is under the direction of a new chair, who accepted the position Sept. 1, the associate vice chancellor said.

University of Arkansas System President Don Bobbitt appointed Laura Jacobs, associate vice chancellor for University Relations, as chair of the search committee after former chairman Howard Brill left the university to become chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, Jacobs said.

However, Brill will continue to serve as a member of the committee, Jacobs said.

“I will pick up where he left off and continue to guide the committee through this process,” Jacobs said.

The search committee conducts the search process for the next chancellor and selects potential candidates to present to president Bobbitt.

The recruitment phase of the search will continue, Jacobs said. The job description includes reporting to the System president and serving as the chief executive officer for the UofA. The chancellor is responsible for all UA operations, according to the chancellor’s website.

This job description has been distributed to potential candidates, Jacobs said. The search committee has received applications, requests for nominations and recommendations.

Committee members participated in an initial meeting to discuss those who may be interested in filling the position. They will eventually select leading candidates to visit campus, Jacobs said.

“The job of chancellor is big and complex, and we are seeking someone who can not only manage the day-to-day realities of a land-grant institution, but has the vision to propel us to the next level,” Jacobs said.

As of Aug. 24, there were 15 candidates for the position, Jacobs said.

“By all measures, the UofA has a lot of things going for it – growing student body, increased student quality, talented faculty, great alumni, generous friends, excellent athletic programs, life-changing research, a vibrant and dynamic part of the country – so all the ingredients are here to really elevate our status, reputation and academic capabilities,” Jacobs said.

Students will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on leading candidates when they visit campus, Jacobs said. The search committee has created a web form, which can be found on the committee’s website, that allows students to give their perspectives on potential candidates.

“I think it is great for any student that has an opinion to express,” Associated Student Government President Tanner Bone said, regarding the web form. It’s great for them to have an outlet to do so because the chancellor has a big impact on student life.

Chancellor G. David Gearhart did a great job of having a student first mentality, Bone said. He also said he would like for this mentality to continue.

However, Bobbitt and the board of trustees will make the final decision. Bobbitt intends to have the position filled by January, Jacobs said.

Most committee members will meet in Dallas later this month to speak with potential candidates before continuing with the search, Jacobs said. She declined to comment on what will happen after that in an effort to protect the privacy of candidates.

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