UAPB chancellor search continues

The search for a permanent successor to former University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Chancellor Lawrence A. Davis Jr. is ongoing and is being coordinated by the University of Arkansas System.

While the search firm assisting the U of A System — Greenwood/Asher of Miramar Beach, Fla. — set a soft deadline of Nov. 23 for submission of applications “for best consideration,” U of A System spokesman Ben Beaumont said Tuesday that applications will continue to be accepted until the right candidate for the job is found.

“The search firm in coordination with the advisory search committee will evaluate the candidates,” Beaumont said.

U of A System President Donald R. Bobbitt laid out the path forward in the selection process at a late June open forum on the UAPB campus.

“At least initially, many individuals will apply but not all will meet the minimum qualifications,” Bobbitt said. “The search firm will be an assistant to the process. We will reduce the pool of applicants down to somewhere around 10 to 14, which will then be whittled down to three or four that the committee feels the university community will respond to as a leader.”

Bobbitt said that the final candidates will be invited to the UAPB campus, where they will participate in interviews with committee members over a two-day period.

“This involves the whole campus community,” Bobbitt said. “I will make clear to the committee that they provide me a list of acceptable candidates. Serious candidates will have to learn a lot about UAPB in a short amount of time.”

Advisory committee

Bobbitt announced the constituent members of the advisory committee in August.

Dr. Robert McGehee — a UAPB alumnus, Pine Bluff native and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences — will serve as chairman.

Other committee members include:

• David Adams, staff, UAPB Physical Plant

• Lawrence Awopetu, faculty, UAPB School of Business and Management

• Elbert E. Bennett, coordinator, UAPB Student Affairs

• Calvin E. Booker Sr., president, UAPB Alumni Association

• Marty Casteel, executive vice president of Simmons First National Corp. and Simmons First National Bank, chairman and CEO-elect of the bank

• Laura Festa, faculty, UAPB School of Arts and Sciences

• James O. Garner Jr., dean, UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences

• Anita Kelly, faculty, School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Services

• Hazel Linton, faculty, UAPB School of Education

• Obumneme Nwankwo, president, UAPB Student Government Association

• Yolanda Page, dean, UAPB School of Arts and Sciences

• Sedrick Rice, faculty, UAPB School of Arts and Sciences

• Rev. Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV, pastor and state representative

“I’m grateful to each of these individuals for taking the time to participate in this very important search,” Bobbitt said in August. “I believe this position will be attractive to talented candidates largely because of the strong support of our students, faculty, staff and alumni, and I’m excited to begin the search process.”

Bobbitt hopes to have a new chancellor selected by June 30, 2013.


A legislative committee of the U of A System Board of Trustees reviewed the contract with Florida-based Greenwood/Asher and Associates Inc. Sept. 5. and gave the green light to UAPB and the U of A System to proceed.

“We have agreed to a flat fee of $70,000 for the search process and up to $10,000 in direct expenses,” Beaumont said in September. “The contract will last from Sept. 22 of this year through June 30, 2013.”

Beaumont said that funds for the search firm will come from the UAPB budget.

“Greenwood/Asher will help draft position specifications, help advertise the position and recruit candidates,” Beaumont said. “They will work with the advisory committee established by [U of A System] President [Donald R.] Bobbitt to recruit candidates for the chancellor position.”

Interim chancellor

Bobbitt selected former dean of the UAPB College of Education Calvin Johnson in mid-April to serve as interim chancellor from the May 25 retirement of Davis until a permanent chancellor is chosen.