The four candidates for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff chancellor position — narrowed from a field of more than 30 — will be brought to the campus for separate two-day visits beginning later this month that are intended to put a face to a name.
“This is what I call the ‘touchy feely’ phase of the search process where the candidates are given the opportunity to interact with the university community,” said search committee chairman Dr. Robert McGehee of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. “Each of them have all of the credentials to become chancellor and now we will see if they are a good fit.”
The four were announced Monday in a press release from the U of A System. They are Kim Luckes of Norfolk State University in Virginia; Laurence Alexander of the University of Florida; Everette Freeman of Albany State University in Georgia; and Robert Mock of the University of Kentucky.
“At the end of the day it is always possible that none of the candidates are selected and if that were the case we would start the search again, but hopefully we will not be in that situation,” McGehee said.
Kim Luckes, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Norfolk State University in Virginia, was attracted to the position by UAPB’s history.
“I think probably more than anything it would be the mission of the university that interested me in the position,” Luckes said. “The fact that it is an 1890 land grant university and a historically black university is of great interest to me. I am quite ready to take on a leadership role so I was very interested in this position.”
Luckes believes that her professional background up to now has prepared her to take on the role of chancellor.
“I think I meet the leadership qualifications and that I have the vision that it takes to lead an institution,” Luckes said. “In this era of decreasing public funding for educational institutions I believe it is important that a leader understands how to build relationships with the community, the Legislature and alumni. Fundraising is quite important at this time.”
Luckes earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, N.C., and a law degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law in Durham, N.C.
Laurence Alexander, associate dean of the graduate school, director of the office of graduate minority programs and a professor in the college of journalism and communications at the University of Florida, is already a fan of UAPB.
“UAPB is a real gem in the University of Arkansas system,” Alexander said. “It’s an HBCU with a rich history of high-quality education, research and engagement. As a native of the Deep South, I am aware of the great prestige of UAPB and I am encouraged by its dynamic promise and prospects for its future.”
Alexander said that he has long known about the profound impact made by UAPB faculty, staff, students and alumni on the state of Arkansas and the nation as a whole.
Alexander said he is ready to take over the reins at UAPB if selected for the position.
“Over the last 26 years I’ve accumulated a record as a distinguished teacher-scholar and administrator that includes leadership experience in nearly every aspect of university life,” Alexander said. “I have been involved with academic and student affairs, research grants, development, corporate partnerships, alumni affairs, athletics and partnerships with HCBUs. All of this has been at leading institutions.”
Alexander said his diverse educational and professional background also equip him well for the chancellor post.
“I bring the experience of working in major private media corporations and the combination of Juris Doctor and PhD degrees,” Alexander said.
Alexander is originally from New Orleans, and holds a bachelor’s degree in drama and communications from the University of New Orleans, master’s degree in journalism and communications from the University of Florida, a law degree from Tulane University and a doctoral degree in higher education from Florida State University.
Robert Mock, vice president for student affairs at the University of Kentucky, issued a statement through UK spokesman Jay Blanton.
“At this stage in the search process I do not believe that it is appropriate for me to make any comments,” Blanton said on behalf of Mock.
Mock earned a bachelor’s of science degree in industrial engineering with minors in physics and mathematics from Southern Illinois University, and a master of arts degree in interpersonal and organization communication and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Everette Freeman, president of Albany State University, did not return several calls seeking his comments.
Freeman received a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and economics from Antioch College in Ohio, a master of arts degree in labor and industrial relations from the University of Illinois and a doctoral degree in education foundations from Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Campus visit schedule
Luckes will be on campus Tuesday, Jan. 22, and Wednesday, Jan. 23; Mock on Thursday, Jan. 24, and Friday, Jan. 25; Alexander on Tuesday, Jan. 29, and Wednesday, Jan. 30; and Freeman on Tuesday, Feb. 5 and Wednesday, Feb. 6.