CARBONDALE — The search for a new chancellor for the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus has been narrowed to seven semifinalists, according to SIU System President Randy Dunn.
A first round of interviews will be conducted for off-campus applicants via Skype by the end of the month, Dunn told the SIU Board of Trustees at its meeting this past week in Edwardsville.
Dunn appointed a chancellor’s search committee this past fall to help find the right person to lead the Carbondale campus forward.
Brad Colwell has served as SIU’s interim chancellor for about a year and a half.
Colwell was named to the post after the death of then-interim Chancellor Paul Sarvela, who held the position from July 2014 until his death on Nov. 9, 2014. For a while, before Colwell’s appointment, Dunn held dual roles as university president and chancellor of the Carbondale campus.
In his update, Dunn told board members that the search committee members, following the Skype interviews, will begin working to bring their top three picks to campus. Dunn said the candidates chosen as finalists will “run the gauntlet as the chancellor candidates do at that level.”
Dunn previously said he expected that Colwell would apply for the position, while noting it is a nationwide search and he would have to go through the same application process as anyone else.
Dunn also said that others on the Carbondale campus may want to throw their names in the hat.
While discussing the chancellor’s search in October, Dunn said one thing he believes would help the Carbondale campus is some stability at the top. Ten people have served as chancellor at SIUC during the past 20 years, four of them in only an “interim” capacity.
“That churning and turbulence in the top administrative position has just been constant,” Dunn said at the time. “It’s gone on for years and it has to come to an end.”
SIU Carbondale is struggling with declining enrollment and the financial uncertainty created by the state budget impasse. But despite the challenges it is facing, SIU Carbondale remains a major research institution with several nationally recognized programs, and is a deeply rooted regional economic powerhouse that drives the Southern Illinois economy.
In the fall, Dunn did not establish a deadline for the committee to make a recommendation, but directed them to act "expeditiously."