20 applicants seek UA’s top post

Arkansas Democrat Gazette
By Jamie Adame

Twenty applicants vying to become the next chancellor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville include the interim chancellor, Charles Robinson, and UA’s business dean, Matt Waller.

An outgoing college president — Rodney Bennett at the University of Southern Mississippi — and senior administrators at the University of Alabama and Oklahoma State University have also applied.

Listed candidates as of last Friday include one woman out of 11 applicants currently working at colleges or universities. Not all of the 20 candidates had biographical information readily accessible online, but as few as two are women.

The University of Arkansas System released the names and titles of applicants actively seeking the job as of the July 8 deadline for receiving “best consideration.” UA System officials released the list after a request made under the state’s public disclosure law.

Nate Hinkel, a spokesman for the UA System, in a statement called it “very likely” that more than 20 candidates will end up being considered for the job, adding that “the active recruiting process will also continue moving forward in identifying a highly qualified, diverse pool of candidates for consideration.”

Hinkel referred to the diversity of top hires made at UA System President Donald Bobbitt’s recommendation for various UA System colleges and universities. Bobbitt, through Hinkel, declined to comment on the applicant pool so far.

Andrea Silbert, leader of the nonprofit Eos Foundation, said a study done by the foundation published earlier this year found UA among schools needing to take “urgent action” to narrow the gender gap that exists with mostly men in various leadership positions.

UA has never had a woman serve as chancellor or president, and Silbert, when told about the lack of women so far vying to become chancellor, called for those in charge to speak up.

“I’d say the direction needs to come from the system president and board chair to say, ‘We’re very interested in having gender diversity at the top of our institution,'” Silbert said.

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