Shared from the 2/24/2017 American Press eEdition

Search for McNeese president beginning

BATON ROUGE — The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors could choose a new McNeese State University president by April 20, according to a tentative timeline accepted by the committee in charge of recommending candidates to the board.

The McNeese Presidential Search Committee met for the first time Thursday and set a framework for the search process. It includes publishing ads for the position and interviewing McNeese faculty, staff, alumni and students, and screening applicants.

Current McNeese President Philip Williams announced in January that he will retire June 30. He has served as president since July 1, 2010.

James Henderson, ULS president, said the committee will be tasked with recommending at least two candidates to the ULS board. He called the timeline “aggressive, but realistic.”

“We may need to alter it, if that is necessary to select the right candidate,” Henderson said. “The search will take on a life of its own.”

The committee will visit McNeese on March 13 to get feedback from campus officials and the community. The committee should get the list of candidates by March 27 and select semifinalists by April

3. Interviews with the semifinalists are set to take place at McNeese April 11-13.

The 16-member committee is made up of 11 members who can cast votes, along with five advisory members. Two of the advisory members include Vic Stelly, a former state representative, and Willie Mount, a former state senator and former Lake Charles mayor.

Mount said she wants the next McNeese president to have the same qualities as Williams.

“He’s very active in the community (and) constantly promoting McNeese,” she said. “I think we’re looking for somebody that’s totally committed to McNeese and Southwest Louisiana.”

Stelly said he is looking for a candidate “who bleeds blue and gold.” He said the next president should also have the “financial knowledge” to help the university manage potential cuts in state funding.

Henderson said the process in choosing a new university president will be transparent.

“We will work collectively with the greater McNeese community to make sure we find precisely the leader to help elevate the university to the next level,” he said.

Henderson said the candidate qualifications don’t have to be limited to those with administrative experience in higher education. Mount said she’s looking forward to “seeing a very diverse group of applicants.”

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