Updated 

Broadway named higher ed director


LITTLE ROCK — As expected, the state Higher Education Coordinating Board voted unanimously Monday to name Shane Broadway director of the state Department of Higher Education.

The board approved paying Broadway $166,464 a year. His predecessor, Jim Purcell, was making $189,700 a year when he left in early 2011 to become Louisiana’s education commissioner.

Broadway, a former state legislator, became the department’s deputy director in 2010. Gov. Mike Beebe appointed him interim director after Purcell left.

A search committee made up of board members and college and university leaders voted unanimously last week to recommend Broadway for the director’s position after its only other finalist, University of Arizona professor Thomas Anderes, withdrew his name from consideration. The committee had chosen Broadway and Anderes from a field of 20 applicants.

Kaneaster Hodges, who headed the search committee, said during Monday’s board meeting, held via conference call, that the panel could not have made a better choice than Broadway. Hodges said Broadway has two years of on-the-job training, is widely respected and has a good relationship with K-12 education officials.

“There’s no one Shane can’t get along with,” Hodges said.

Broadway thanked the board and said he believes the job is about coordination and communication.

“We have a lot of goals that we’re trying to strive towards and we’ve got to have everybody at that table, and we’re going to continue,” he said. “As soon as this phone call is over, we’ve got work to do, so we’re going to get back to work.”

Broadway had been seen as the favored successor to Purcell two years ago, but a September 2011 attorney general’s opinion said Arkansas law requires the director to have teaching experience on campus, which Broadway did not have. Earlier this year the state Legislature removed that requirement from the law.

The board chooses the director, but the director serves at the pleasure of the governor. Members of the search committee questioned previously whether an out-of-state candidate would want the job, since Beebe is term-limited and a new governor will be elected next year.