‘We’re poised for new leadership’: IHL hosts first listening session in chancellor search

Posted on Jun 19 2019 - 7:53pm by Kenneth Niemeyer

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning discussed potential chancellor candidates’ ability to recruit students and manage multiple campuses at its first listening session with University of Mississippi Medical Center students, faculty and alumni.

Though no students spoke during the first part of the listening session, Edgar Meyer, former Associated Student Body President of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said that he would like to have a chancellor that was more invested in the medical school.

“I, on behalf of the students at UMMC, would like to see someone who would have a vested interest in what’s going on with the medical center campus,” Meyer said.

Dr. Ford Dye. File photo by Katherine Butler.

Ford Dye, Vice President of The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, said that the board had done “behind the scenes” communication with various stakeholders since January and came up with a list of criteria for the new chancellor.

One of the criteria points listed was to have a chancellor who could have an understanding of a complex medical center.

Several medical center faculty members said that they would like to see the next chancellor bring the Jackson and Oxford campuses together in different ways.

Bill Gates, a member of the University of Mississippi Chancellor Search Advisory Committee, said that having to separate campuses is not unique and other universities present good models.

“It might behoove us that this person visits (the University of Arkansas) or visits (the University of Georgia) to learn from them because I would assume that the issues here are present elsewhere,” Gates said.

Many alumni asked the board if they were looking for a chancellor who would recruit students from Mississippi.

Noel Wilkin, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, said that the university had expanded its digital and print approach to reaching Mississippi students and developed a plan to reach them earlier in the recruitment process.

“We’re poised for new leadership… this person is not coming into a broken university,” Wilkin said.

University of Mississippi Medical Center. Photo Courtesy: UM Communications

Dion Kevin, former Associated Student Body President, said he wanted a chancellor that wanted to be involved with students. Kevin also asked what changes were made in this search process that were different from the last chancellor search.

“I’m sure we had a similar vision for chancellor that we had in the past, and obviously those didn’t flesh out the way that we wanted them to flesh out,” Kevin said.

Dye also said that the board would be able to interview stronger candidates in the process because members of the search committee were asked to sign confidentiality forms which would attract candidates that were successful in their current positions.

“I want somebody for this job who is happy where they are. I don’t want someone who is looking for the next job,” Dye said. “I want someone who is a strong leader.”