Former provost candidate vies for UAPB chancellor position
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has recently narrowed its search for a new chancellor to just four final candidates, one of whom was one of the three final candidates for the UALR provost position.
Laurence Alexander, who is the University of Florida’s associate graduate school dean, is currently one of four final candidates vying for the position of chancellor at UAPB. The other candidates, who are expected to visit the campus for interviews by early February, are Albany State University President Everette Freeman, University of Kentucky’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Robert Mock, and Kim Luckes, executive vice president and chief operating office of Norfolk State University.
“I’m grateful to Dr. [Robert] McGehee and the members of the committee for their diligent work in helping us find the very best person to serve as the next chancellor at UAPB,” said University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt in an official press release. “The high quality of these candidates is a testament to the work of our committee and to the attractiveness of the position as chancellor of this fine university. We are looking forward to getting to know them better as we move into the final stages of this process.”
During their campus visits, the four will each spend two days in meetings and interviews with students, faculty and staff members, as well as individuals from the Pine Bluff community, according to Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. Alexander’s visit, for which he said “I can’t wait,” is slated to be his first trip to both the university as well as the city of Pine Bluff.
“I bring a lot to the table,” Alexander said. “I bring a wealth of experience in higher ed and higher education administration; I bring experience at the graduate level; lots of experience with students and student affairs … externship programs … partnerships … and the alumni board….”
The historically-Black university’s administrative search began after the retirement in May of UAPB’s 21-year Chancellor Lawrence Davis Jr., after which former Arkansas Rep. Calvin Johnson has worked as interim chancellor.
“The candidates were selected with the help of an advisory search committee chaired by Dr. Robert McGehee, a UAPB alumnus, Pine Bluff native and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. An executive search firm assisted the committee,” according to the UA press release.
At the University of Florida, Alexander also serves as the director of the Office of Minority Programs.
“I think every university has challenges, and I think UAPB is no different,” Alexander said. “I believe the primary issues for UAPB are student success … that’s what we’re her for and that’s what we’re all about.” He also said that he plans to help combat enrollment at the school, which has declined in recent years, through more effective recruitment and retention strategies.
Alexander said that the UAPB chancellorship is the only position that he is currently vying for. The search has and continues to be conducted by Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc. of Miramar, Fla., who contacted him about the position sometime last fall.
The UALR provost candidates, who were chosen to compete for the UALR administrative position with the help of a national academic search firm, included Alexander, Wayne State University’s Jerry Herron, Wichita State University’s Zulma Toro-Ramos and University of Missouri at Kansas City’s Kevin Truman. After nearly a year and a half of searching, UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson announced the selection of Zulma Toro-Ramos as the university’s provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs position.
The search began in July 2011 when former UALR Provost David Belcher stepped down from the position to take a job as chancellor of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. Sandra Robertson, UALR’s director of Budget, Planning and Institutional Research, has since served as interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. When she assumed the temporary role, Robertson had six months of experience working as interim provost in 2003.