Three candidates are being considered for the position of chancellor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The university announced Thursday that UA System President Donald Bobbitt made the selections from a pool of candidates recommended by a search committee.
The three are Cheryl Lovell, special advisor to the chancellor and chief academic officer at the Colorado State University System; Andrew Rogerson, provost and vice president of academic affairs of Sonoma State University; and Mark Rudin, vice president for research and economic development at Boise State University.
A 17-person search committee headed by former UALR Vice Chancellor for Advancement Bob Denman has been meeting since January to consider candidates. Last year, current UALR chancellor Joel Anderson announced he would retire at the end of the fiscal year, June 30. Anderson has been chancellor for the last 13 years.
The finalists for the job are scheduled to visit the UALR campus May 9-13. They are to meet with faculty, administrators, students, UA Board members and other local leaders.
Denman said the search committee has been considering candidates with three main qualities.
“We were looking for a visionary leader, someone who was a very good and effective manager and then somebody that we thought could help raise the level of resources available to the university, be it private funding, state funding, or increased enrollment,” Denman said.
UALR’s spring enrollment for full and part time, graduate and undergraduate students is 10,947, a decline from the previous fall’s enrollment of 11,891. That’s when the university posted its first enrollment gain in three years. The university has yet to recapture the number of students in the enrollment peak in the fall of 2010, when 13,176 attended. The retention rate for undergraduates from the fall of 2014 to the fall of 2015 was 72%.
At the beginning of the 2016 fiscal year, the university began implementing $2.4 million in budget cuts due to a drop in enrollment. This month, the university also began offering early retirement incentives to faculty and staff members as a way of reducing costs.
Denman said that salary negotiations would be made between the new chancellor and Dr. Bobbit. In FY2015, Anderson was paid $220,306, according to UALR's website.
“UALR is at a point in its history, where we need to redefine where it is that we want to go, or re-entrench where it is that we want to go,” said Denman.
After the three candidates’ campus visits, Bobbitt will ultimately decide on who will take the chancellor role. That decision will then have to be approved by the UA System’s Board of Trustees.