Monroe NewsStar and Shreveport Times
By Mike Hasten • [email protected] • February 27, 2010
BATON ROUGE – The search for a new president at Grambling State University is being put on hold, allowing interim President Frank Pogue to continue directing the campus.
Search committee members Friday morning were to adopt a draft advertisement for soliciting applicants for the position on a permanent basis and to approve hiring a search firm. But members said after such a positive response at a Feb. 11 meeting with Grambling supporters on the university campus, they feel comfortable with Pogue staying on the job longer than originally planned.
Pogue took the interim job in mid-December but didn’t start to work fulltime until the beginning of the year. Board rules call for conducting a search after appointing an interim president. Dropping that rule would take a two-thirds vote of the board
Before the panel decided to delay the search, University of Louisiana System President Randy Moffett said because of “diverse opinions on the campus, we need a leader who will bring those opinions together.”
Committee members said judging from comments at the on-campus forum, they believe Pogue has done that.
Search committee and board member Wayne Parker of Ruston said Pogue was “getting the job done.” He described the interim president as “a great communicator and someone with a track record and the skills to make a difference. … From our standpoint, we’ve got a good person there right now. It’s been an almost immediate turn-around” in morale and attitude on campus.
Physics Professor Matthew Ware, the Grambling faculty representative on the panel, said the campus has “problems that I think, frankly, would be unfair to lay at the feet of a new president. Over the last six years, there has been instability across the campus on the university,” which led the faculty Senate to propose a vote of no confidence in the executive branch.
“Dr. Pogue inherited a very dysfunctional administrative team,” Ware said. “The faculty has no confidence in anybody on the team except Dr. Pogue.”
Ware said many faculty and alumni want Pogue to be the permanent president, and he believes Pogue is “miles better than many university presidents across the country.”
Pogue’s age, 71, is a factor that must be considered, Ware said, and he’s concerned about “kicking the can further down the road” and having to search for another president in a few years.
Among the desires expressed at the on-campus hearing was consistency.
“We ought to keep him, at least for a while,” said UL board and search committee member Mildred Gallot of Grambling. She said Pogue has already hired new heads of financial aid, admissions and university advancement, a position that has been vacant for years.
Grambling Student Government Association President Stephen Jackson, the board and search committee’s student member, cautioned the board about keeping Pogue on solely in an interim status for too long, suggesting that to make permanent changes on campus, Pogue would need to be hired as the permanent president, if he is the choice of the board.
“Soon, the swagger of being the new kid on the block will wear off” without a permanent title, Jackson said.
Moffett said the university is facing some pressing academic issues, including campus-wide accreditation assessments by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the NCAA, as well as accreditation of the education and social work degree programs.
He said his next step is to talk with Pogue to see how long he is willing to stay on as interim president and whether he wants the job on a permanent basis.
Grambling’s last president, Horace Judson, left GSU at the end of October.