President search nears conclusion, VP positions filled

By Brad Barber

The search for the next university president is in its final stages after over five months of discussions and interviews. The next president will have to be submitted for the board of trustees’ approval to be named to the position.

(Illustration by Katy Seymour)

Kelly Savage, chair of the personnel committee, released an update in a campus-wide email detailing that the Presidential Advisory Task Force (PATF) interviewed the final four candidates March 8 to 9 in Indianapolis. All 14 members of the PATF were present at the interviews.

“I was truly humbled by the quality of the candidates and their great desire to serve Jesus Christ and Huntington University,” Savage said in the email.

The four candidates were selected Feb. 21. Each interview lasted approximately two hours and discussed topics such as vision, mission, Christ-centered education, liberal arts, student focus, stewardship and general leadership, Savage said.

After the interviews, the PATF members discussed and privately voted their prioritization of the four candidates. The members then unanimously agreed that they could support the first and second candidate.

The personnel committee, Ann McPherren, Ph.D., and Matthew Ruiz, Ph.D., have been meeting the top candidate this week and will check references thereafter. The candidate must be approved by the board of trustees at its next meeting April 26.

The three vacant vice president positions have also been filled for the 2013-14 school year. The university has been without a permanent senior vice-president for academic affairs and vice president for business and finance since the end of the 2011-12 school year. John Paff, the vice president for university relations, resigned Jan. 28.

Del Doughty, Ph.D., agreed to remain the interim senior vice president for academic affairs in November 2012. Julie Hendryx, interim vice president for business and finance, also agreed to extend her time in the position for the upcoming academic school year. The board of trustees approved Hendryx’s continuation in January.

To compensate for Hendryx’s extended absence from the director of human resources and auxiliary services position, Rachel Wust has verbally accepted a contract to assume that role for the next academic year. Hendryx said that she originally hired Wust only for human resources, but Wust’s experience made her a fit for the new position.

“I wanted to strategically leverage her skill set and abilities, and I wanted to have the majority impact [of her skills] be on human resources,” Hendryx said. “We’ll take that experience she has gained as human resources director and offer her the director of human resources and auxiliary services position.”

Heather Barkley has been named the director of communications, which will replace the vice president of university relations position. Barkley was formerly the associate director of marketing for graduate and professional programs, and will retain some of those tasks in her new position.

“Heather will be a member of the director group within the enrollment management and marketing area and will oversee the regional marketing efforts of HU, including general awareness campaigns,” Jeff Bergren, senior vice president of enrollment management and marketing, said. “She will continue with her current marketing responsibilities for our graduate and professional programs but will no longer directly oversee the recruitment efforts for those areas.”

Barkley will transition into her new position in April.

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