Arkansas State University has a top four in its quest to find a new rector for its Jonesboro campus. The ASU Chancellor’s Advisory Committee and ASU Chancellor Dr. Charles L. Welch announced on Friday (June 10th) that four finalist candidates have accepted invitations to visit the Jonesboro campus and a formal interview for the chancellor’s position. The candidates will fight for the position held by Chancellor Kelly Dumfus, who will end his term on June 30 and then become president of Texas State University.
The four finalists, listed alphabetically by last name, are Dr. Walter Kimbrow, president of Dillard University in New Orleans; Dr. Karen Peterson, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Henry Kendall at the University of Tulsa; Dr. Todd Shields, dean of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville; and Dr. Lance Tatum, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Chief Academic Director and Rector of Troy University in Troy, Alabama.
Invitations for an official interview on campus later this month come after recent meetings between Welch and the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee, consisting of 22 members representing faculty, staff, students and community representatives, considered 44 applications for the position.
“We have received a wide range of quality candidates, and the four finalists are outstanding administrators of higher education with impressive experience in teaching and research, each of whom will bring unique experiences to Arkansas,” Welch said. “Our voters will have the opportunity to visit them later this month and we will welcome feedback.”
Each finalist will meet with the advisory committee, faculty, staff, students and community members during interviews. Attendees attending the interview sessions will have the opportunity to send feedback on each candidate to the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. Following the last interview, the Advisory Committee will meet to discuss the candidates and provide feedback to Welch.
Welch hopes to have a new chancellor, named by July 1.
Kimbrow has been president of Dillard University in New Orleans since 2012 and announced last year that he would retire this month to look for other opportunities. He was President of Philander Smith College in Little Rock from 2004-2012 and was Vice President of Student Affairs at Albany State University in Albany, Georgia, from 2000-2004. He also served at Emory University, State University. University of Georgia and Old Dominion University.
Peterson has served as dean of the Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tulsa since February 2021. Prior to that, she was dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, where she was also a professor of political science. Her publications include articles in journals on interstate conflict, terrorism, federal courts, the Foreign Intelligence Oversight Act, and pedagogical issues related to online learning.
Shields has served as dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas since 2014. He was previously associate director of the J.W. Fulbright Institute of International Relations. William Fulbright, director of the Diane D. Blair Center for Southern Politics and Society, interim dean of the Clinton School of Public Services and dean of higher education and international education. He led the creation of the School of the Arts in 2017 following an unprecedented $ 120 million donation from the Walton Family Charitable Foundation and led the construction of the Windgate Art and Design District in Fayetteville.
Tatum has served as Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Director in Troy since 2019, where he is also a professor at the Sorel Business College and its School of Hospitality, Sports and Tourism. He previously served four years as Vice Chancellor of the Troy Campus in Montgomery, Alabama, four years as Vice Chancellor of the Troy Global Campus, and began his academic administrative career as Dean of the College of Education in Troy.