Posted by Philip Poole on 2005-11-30

A series of constituent reference panels are being convened Dec. 6 to interview a potential candidate for the Samford University presidency.

The panels are a step in the search process approved by the University's board of trustees in April and represent "the next step," said presidential search committee co-chair Albert Brewer. "The feedback from these panels is vital to the overall search process."

Three panels--faculty/staff, student, and alumni/friends--will meet with the first candidate that has been identified by the search committee for consideration. These panels will review any candidate brought forth by the search committee.

Also on Dec. 6, the candidate will meet with the University's key leadership.

The list of panels has not been released, Brewer said, because individuals invited to be panel members received an invitation to serve on Nov. 30 and have until Dec. 2 to respond. Panel members will be asked to respect the confidentiality of the review process and the candidate since this still is a preliminary step in the overall search process, he added. Panel members will receive background information on the candidate prior to the Dec. 6 sessions.

Panel members "will be encouraged to ask any question" of the candidate and provide "any response they feel is appropriate" to the search committee about what they learn in the sessions, according to PSC co-chair Hobart Grooms.

"This is a chance for these constituency representatives and leadership groups to get to know this particular candidate and to be part of the review process," Grooms said. "It also is a time for a candidate to better understand Samford and its constituents."

Panel members will have the opportunity to submit individual feedback to the search committee, but the panels will not take any group vote, Brewer said.

The search committee will determine next steps after receiving feedback from the Dec. 6 sessions. Brewer emphasized that any candidate recommendation must be approved by the University's board of trustees.

The 17-member search committee has been meeting since May and had announced earlier in November that it was narrowing the list of 139 nominations and applications it had received. The committee is seeking a replacement for current Samford President Thomas E. Corts who has announced plans to retire at the end of the 2005-06 academic year.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.