Campus community, alumni, and friends:
I hope this message finds you well and staying healthy during these unprecedented times for our university and our nation. I am deeply appreciative of your ongoing efforts to serve our students and keep the university running despite the worldwide pandemic. Henderson is strong because of you, and I feel blessed to be part of such an amazing team.
I am writing today to provide you with an update on our chancellor search. As you know, social distancing efforts have completely altered our normal ways of doing business and this search process has also been impacted. From our inability to conduct face-to-face interviews, to prospective candidates being unable to apply because of the significant impact on their current campuses, we are faced with a challenging decision as to how we proceed.
I conducted a virtual meeting with the Chancellor Search Advisory Committee last week to discuss our options. We considered four possible paths forward:
1. Proceed with the current search and conduct all interviews virtually.
2. Delay the search until fall 2020.
3. Delay the search until spring 2021.
4. Select a chancellor for a maximum two-year period to ensure we are able to navigate the massive challenges and changes we are sure to face in the coming months.
After much discussion about each option, the committee overwhelmingly agreed that option four is our best approach at this time. Hiring a long-term leader without appropriate campus interaction and engagement is not desirable. Hiring during the fall semester is poor timing for prospective candidates. Simply announcing a one-year delay in the face of significant budget cuts and challenging financial times, as well as critical decisions facing the university, could be difficult.
This leaves us with the prospect of naming a short-term leader for a definitive time period to continue to stabilize the university and set us on a positive path forward. We would then conduct a comprehensive search for our long-term leader at a later date. Please know that everyone on the committee realizes this is not a perfect arrangement, but the committee believes this approach has fewer negatives than the other options.
The search advisory committee will meet again soon to discuss our next steps in implementing option four. We do not have a definitive timetable, but we understand the need to make decisions as quickly as possible. I will regularly communicate with you as we progress, and I always welcome your input.
Please know that we all fully understand what this university has been through recently, and we understand that suspending the search may be disappointing news. Just know that we all remain committed to restoring our financial health, continuing to promote a positive campus environment, and positioning this university for much brighter days ahead. This is yet another bump in the road, but together we will overcome this challenge like all the rest and we will continue to illustrate to the rest of the state just what the Reddie Spirit is all about.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I will certainly keep you updated as we progress.
Dr. Charles L. Welch
Arkansas State University System