Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Schools find president in different ways

A 23-member advisory committee has been appointed to assist in the search process for the next president of the University of Alabama, UA System Chancellor Robert Witt announced Friday.

“After consulting with president pro tempore Paul Bryant, Jr., we have developed an outstanding list of individuals who have agreed to serve on the Presidential Search Advisory Committee,” Witt said in a press release. “Representing faculty, staff, students and alumni as well as members of the Board of Trustees, they will play a vital role in helping select the 40th president of the university. We greatly appreciate their willingness to serve.”

Prior to being named chancellor of the UA System last month, Witt served as president of the University of Alabama for nine years. The advisory committee will be responsible for presenting recommendations to Witt about who should replace him as UA president.

Witt will serve on the committee and participate in committee meetings, the press release said.

“The rules set out a procedure that the search committee will recommend a name or names to a chancellor, and the chancellor then recommends a candidate to the board of trustees,” said Finis St. John, a member of the board who will serve on the search advisory committee.

UA Provost Judy Bonner is currently serving as interim president until a permanent replacement is named.

In addition to St. John, the committee includes five other members of the UA System Board of Trustees, nine UA administrators, five business leaders and alumni, two professors and one student. Trustee Karen Brooks of Tuscaloosa will serve as the committee chair.

The Crimson White surveyed 24 colleges that have conducted national searches for presidents over the past two decades and found that 20 of them also included at least one student representative on their search committee or on advisory committees. Some committees, like the one that hired Chancellor Jack Hawkins at Troy University in 1989, had three students.

Most of the universities also held meetings or conducted surveys to receive input from community members, faculty and students. The University of California set up separate advisory committees for students, staff and alumni

“We don’t have a timeline or a particular game plan yet,” St. John said. “I expect us to have a meeting in the near future where we will discuss the mechanics of the committee.”

St. John said he had not heard a single nomination or name for UA president.

“I think it’s unquestionable that Dr. Witt has had unprecedented success since he’s been here and has established a blueprint that I’d like to see implemented by the next president,” he said. “We don’t need a radical change of strategy.”


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