ASU president search continues

Published 12:03 am Thursday, September 2, 2010

NATCHEZ — The next Alcorn State University president should be a strong leader who understands the unique rural aspect of the university as a land grant institution.

That was the overriding sentiment at a campus listening session at the Lorman and Natchez campuses, C.D. Smith said.

Smith is the chairman of a search committee put together by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, which has been assigned the task of hiring Alcorn’s new president.

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Alcorn State University spokesperson Clara Stamps said the open-forum session gathered administration, faculty, students, alumni and community members at the Lorman campus dining hall and at the Natchez campus via Web cast to provide input on the selection process.

“I was really very pleased with the open comments made by the various constituency groups. Overall, it was a very, very productive day because I think we got a really good feel for what’s important to the Alcorn family,” Smith said.

“From what I heard, there was a theme of wanting to ensure the next president is student focused, someone who understands the uniqueness of Alcorn, someone who is a leader and not a micro manager and someone who wants to be there for the long haul.”

Smith said the uniqueness of Alcorn includes its rural location and its existence and history as one of two land grant institutions in the state along with Mississippi State University.

IHL spokes person Caron Blanton said search committee should select a new president in approximately four months.

At the end of four months, the search committee will either announce a new president or will continue the search.

The decision of who to hire will ultimately fall in the hands of a five-member committee from the IHL.

IHL is the governing body of Mississippi’s state universities.

Smith said one of IHL’s most important responsibilities is to conduct searches for chief executives of universities.

A 25-member campus search committee made up of Alcorn constituents will aid in the process of narrowing down a candidate.

Members of the campus search committee also participated in Tuesday’s listening session.

The session from 7:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. allowed a variety of groups to speak about what qualifications and qualities they want in a new school leader.

Blanton said each group session included between 30 and 50 people.

Groups included community leaders, the president’s cabinet, deans and senior program officers, division chairs and department heads, students, faculty, professional support representatives and alumni.

Smith said applicants have started rolling in since the announcement about the position was made a month ago.

He said he expects to receive more applications as the Sept. 15 application deadline approaches.

The position has been advertised nationally in higher education publications and in the Clarion Ledger.

The position is also listed on the Alcorn Web site and on

More information about the selection process can be found at