UL System Board Begins National Search for Grambling President by Naming a Search Committee, Announcing a Jan. 21 Public Forum – Dec 5, 2003
Search Panel to Begin Work after Grambling’s Accreditation is Decided Tuesday
BATON ROUGE, La. —The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors officially began its search for a permanent Grambling State University President today.
UL System Board Chair Gordon Pugh named a search committee and announced that the first public forum about the search will be held on the Grambling campus on Jan. 21. He said he hopes to have a permanent Grambling president in place by July 1.
Pugh said he made his announcement today to clear the way for the committee to begin work immediately following what he hopes will be a positive announcement by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools next week. Grambling has been on SACS probation since December 2001. Since then, officials have worked to eliminate fiscal and bookkeeping problems at the university. SACS will decide the fate of the university’s accreditation in Nashville on Tuesday.
“We certainly don’t want to be premature, but we want to be ready to go when we receive the outcome from SACS next week,” Pugh said. “This is the most critical time in this century-old university’s history. We hope that SACS will announce Grambling’s reaccreditation so we can get a permanent president in place and begin looking forward to the next 100 years.”
Serving on the Grambling presidential search committee will be Pugh and other UL Board members Elsie Burkhalter, Wayne Parker, Jennifer Porter (student member), Walter Rhodes, Carl Shetler and David Wright. Grambling Faculty Senate President Ellen Smiley will also serve. Grambling Student Government Association President Adonis Ducre, Alumnus Clifton Lemelle, and Lincoln Parish District Attorney and Board of Regents member Robert Levy will serve the committee in an advisory capacity. UL System President Sally Clausen will chair the committee.
“There are a lot of people throughout the United States who love Grambling and will be intensely interested in the outcome of the search. We want to make sure that they have an opportunity to play a part,” Clausen said. “We’ve found in previous searches that the more input people have in the process, the happier they are with the outcome.”
The Grambling presidential search will be similar to previous searches conducted recently at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Nicholls State University in Thibodaux. Both featured open public meetings and candidate interviews on campus that invited public comments and participation.
A web page (at www.ulsystem.net) dedicated to the search will contain Grambling information, search announcements, news, candidates’ resumes and other information. It also will have contact information for anyone wanting to submit comments or questions to the search committee.
A positive SACS decision next week will end several years of upheaval at the university. Grambling Acting President Neari Warner has served at the helm since previous President Steve Favors resigned in January 2001. SACS placed the university on probation in December of that year. In 2002, after the university received its first positive legislative audit in five years, SACS extended the university’s probation but continued its accreditation for “good cause” for one additional year so it could see evidence of progress at Grambling “for a longer period of time.” The University received a second consecutive “unqualified” audit in October, raising hopes that SACS will release its sanction and reaccredit the university.
SACS accreditation is considered to be crucial to Grambling’s survival. Without it, Grambling students would be ineligible for federal financial aid. Currently about 92 percent of Grambling students receive such aid.
Founded in 1901 as a private industrial school to educate African-American citizens in north central Louisiana, Grambling is a comprehensive university offering undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education programs. Situated on a 383-acre campus, the historically black university has almost 5,000 students.
The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. Universities’ accreditations are reaffirmed every 10 years.
The University of Louisiana System includes eight universities: Grambling, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and University of Louisiana at Monroe.
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