Committee to select new GSU leader in June

The Grambling Presidential Search Committee hopes to announce a new president by the first week of June.

The Hollins Group announced at the last meeting among the University of Louisiana System and the Search Committee that there were 37 potential candidates.

The groups have also ironed out a timeline in order to meet their June deadline. The Hollins Group, the organization responsible for the GSU presidential
search, will recommend candidates to the Search Committee on or before May 29, then the committee will select semifinalists on May 29 and conduct interviews in Grambling the first week to June.

Sandra Woodley, the president of the UL System, said they want to have a special board meeting on campus to make the final decision.

When the parties met in Baton Rouge on Feb. 27, the Hollins Group recommended that the timeline to select a president be stretched; the original plan was to select a president this month. The potential candidates wanted more clarity on the higher education budget from the state.

“Louisiana is facing unprecedented challenge with a $1.6 billion deficit for 2015- 2016, including a $608 million funding gap for high education,” said Woodley in a statement. “That equates to an $11 million (83%) loss of state funding for Grambling.”

While the Hollins Group did not name anyone, the next leader of GSU comes from a diverse pool: Thirty-five have a doctoral degree (including two with a juris doctorate), two are current presidents, four are former presidents, 14 are vice presidents, and six are women.

The UL System’s search process calls for all applications to go through the search firm.  Applicants do not become official candidates until the firm presents its recommended candidates to the committee.

The legislative session began on April 13, and the final budget outcomes won’t be finalized until June.

Even with the uncertainty of the state funding for GSU, the search committee has their own set of concerns and guidelines for the next president.

“A major problem (at GSU) is instability,” said Herbert Simmons, the president of the Faculty Senate at GSU and a voting member of the search committee.  “We have seen too many presidents come and go, and it is contributing to our situation.”

Grambling has had four presidents in more than 10 years: Neari Warner was the university’s first female interim president in 2004, Horace Judson, who resigned in 2009, Frank G. Pogue, who retired in 2014, and their current interim president Cynthia Warrick.

Regardless of the quick turnover, Simmons wants the next president to commit to stay for at least 10 years.

“If we don’t get a strong person with impeccable skills and background, I fear for the future of our university.”