The first two of five finalists to become SOU’s next president have visited campus over the past week, with the three remaining finalists scheduled to visit later this week and next. All of the candidates are visiting for two days of interviews and presentations with various constituent groups and community members.
Chris Gilmer, Ph.D., currently the president of West Virginia University at Parkersburg, was on the SOU campus on Oct 14 and 15; and Brock Tessman, Ph.D., currently the deputy commissioner of higher education for 16 campuses that comprise the Montana University System, was at SOU on Monday and today. The other candidates – whose names will be announced a day before their respective visits – will come to SOU on Oct. 21-22, Oct. 25-26 and Oct. 27-28.
“We are hoping that not only our campus community, but the entire SOU community and its partners throughout the Rogue Valley will get involved in this process and see these candidates,” said Danny Santos, chair of the SOU Board of Trustees and of the search committee.“ We will be seeking valuable feedback from all who engage in these two-day visits, and that input will be very important in the board’s decision-making process.”
An 18-member Presidential Search Committee – a diverse group made up of members of SOU’s Board of Trustees, students, faculty, staff, local community members and an Oregon university president – recommended the five finalists after receiving more than 100 applications for the position.
Gilmer held various positions in higher education teaching and administration prior to his role at WVU-Parkersburg, including executive director/chief operating officer of Alcorn State University’s Vicksburg Campus, vice president for academic and sponsored programs at a nonprofit agency, and vice president for academic affairs at Adams State University. He holds a doctorate in English from University of Southern Mississippi, a master’s degree in English from Mississippi College, a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from University of Southern Mississippi and an associate degree in liberal arts from East Central Community College.
Tessman also held various positions in higher education teaching and administration prior to his role with the Montana University System, including professor of political science and dean of the Davidson Honors College at the University of Montana in Missoula; and as a tenured professor at the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. He earned his bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Brown University and received both his master’s degree and doctorate in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
SOU students and employees, and members of the community, have an opportunity to meet and ask questions of the finalists during an open forum and Q&A session at 3:15 p.m. in Room 151 of the Science Building on the first day of each candidate’s campus visit. Day two of the schedule also includes an opportunity for community members to interact with candidates – an 8:30 a.m. session at the Higher Education Center in Medford.
More information about the finalists, their schedules and links to recordings of their open forum presentations are available on the presidential search website.