In December, University of Alaska President Pat Gamble announced that he will leave the University a year early, vacating his position by June 1st this year. In the wake of this news, the University Board of Regents has formed a search committee, headed by Board of Regents member Mary K. Hughes. The University is partnering with Academic Search, INC and will be reviewing applicants from all over the country. I spoke with Hughes about the search on Thursday, during a break from a board meeting.
“Dr. Tom Fitch and ASI helped us in the former search, in which we got Pat Gamble,” Hughes said. “And Pat has been superior and awesome and wonderful, so we think this is the right company to use.”
Hughes said that the regents have put together a presidential profile and an advertisement which are both available online. She said the position closes on March 31st. Hughes explained that preliminary meetings about candidates will not be public because of the delicate nature of the matter.
“When you’re dealing with candidates,” she said, “you have to be very careful because some candidates might have a job somewhere else.”
Three to five candidates will be selected for review by the Board of Regents by April 8th. The board anticipates selecting the next President by May 18th, ensuring a smooth transition before Gamble’s June 1st departure.
If a presidential candidate is not selected by June 1st, and interim president will be appointed to serve while the search continues. Hughes told me she did not anticipate this happening.
Hughes thanked President Gamble for his service to the University and told me that the next President will have some big shoes to fill.
“A candidate is going to be different than President Gamble,” Hughes said. “This candidate is lucky because there is a game plan here.” She explained that President Gamble started from scratch and gave the University “Shaping Alaska’s Future,” which has been very beneficial in helping the University move forward. Although finding a replacement for President Gamble will be challenging, Hughes said: “we’re thinking that we can do it.”