Updates and Messages
September 22, 2021, Message to the University Community
Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,
I’m writing to provide the University community with an update on our president search.
The Search Committee recently conducted two days of in-depth interviews with a group of semifinalist candidates. The committee was pleased with the level of interest in the position and with the qualifications of each candidate selected for an interview. The committee then had the difficult task of narrowing the field to a small group of potential finalists who will be recommended to the USA Board of Trustees for consideration.
Our search consultant, R. William Funk & Associates, is in the process of following up with each of the desired finalists to confirm their interest in moving onto the next phase of the process. The search consultant will provide us with the results of those conversations, and the Board of Trustees will meet to consider the recommendations of the Search Committee.
The outcome of the Board’s consideration of the recommended finalists will be announced to the University community by Chair pro tempore Jimmy Shumock. The committee will work with the Board to provide opportunities for the University community to meet the finalists and provide feedback to the Board of Trustees, which will make a decision about the next president.
I thank and commend the members of the Search Committee for their hard work and dedication to the search process, and look forward to the next steps in selecting the next president of the University of South Alabama.
Alexis Atkins, Trustee
Chair of the President Search Committee
August 17, 2021, Message to the University Community
Dear USA Employees and Students,
I’m writing to provide the University community with an update on our president search. I’m pleased with the progress that we have made and with the level of interest that has been expressed by many potential candidates.
During the month of July, Board of Trustees Chair Pro Tempore Jimmy Shumock and I conducted more than 20 meetings with internal and external stakeholder groups to ask for input on the desired characteristics and experience of our next president, as well as on the challenges and opportunities for which our next president will need to be prepared. These meetings were both productive and insightful, and the information that we gathered was shared with the entire President Search Committee to help guide us.
The priority deadline for candidates to submit their materials was Aug. 1, and since then the President Search Committee has met twice to discuss the candidate pool and the next steps in the process.
Our search consultant, R. William Funk & Associates, contacted 128 people about the presidency at South. Of those who were contacted, more than 40 individuals indicated their interest in being considered as active candidates. At our Aug. 3 meeting, our consultant reported that the reception in the marketplace was positive, that South was viewed favorably by potential candidates, and that the University’s location was appealing. At the same meeting, search committee members were each asked to review the active candidate files, make an unranked list of the eight candidates they felt the Search Committee should interview, and forward their list to the search consultant.
The Search Committee met again on Aug. 12. At that meeting, our search consultant advised the committee about the names of the candidates who had been selected by committee members for further consideration. The committee engaged in a productive and constructive discussion about the candidates who were listed as potential interviewees by the search committee members, and then agreed upon a short list of semifinalists who will be interviewed in the near future by the committee.
After the semifinalist interviews, the committee expects to further refine the list and recommend a slate of candidates to the USA Board of Trustees. The committee will work with the Board to provide opportunities for the University community to meet the finalists and provide feedback to the Board of Trustees, which will make a decision about the next president.
I want to thank the members of the Search Committee for their diligence and dedication, which has allowed our process to move along efficiently and effectively. I look forward to providing the University community with additional information in the near future.
USA Trustee and Chair, President Search Committee
May 28, 2021, Message to the University Community
Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,
I’m writing to provide you with an update on the progress of the President Search Committee as we embark upon the search for the next president of our University.
The search committee has met several times over the past month to discuss the process and the desired qualifications for the next president. Included in those discussions have been representatives from our search consultant, R. William Funk & Associates. The committee has approved advertising to be placed in a number of national publications, and has developed and finalized a leadership statement that provides a comprehensive overview of the University and the position for potential candidates. In addition, the committee has sent individual letters to many leaders and friends of the University to encourage them to nominate individuals for consideration.
All of the information related to the search, including the position profile and information on how to nominate candidates, is contained on the President Search Website.
Over the next few months, our search consultant will be accepting applications and nominations for the position, and will be providing updates to the committee on a regular basis. The committee will most likely not need to meet again until it is time to begin reviewing candidates, and I will provide the University community with an update as that part of the process gets underway.
Secretary, USA Board of Trustees
Chair, President Search Committee
April 15, 2021, Message to the University Community
Dear USA Students, Faculty and Staff,
This week the Executive Committee of the USA Board of Trustees met on two occasions to make a number of decisions related to the search for a new University president. In keeping with the board’s commitment to inform the University community about major milestones in the presidential search process, we want to share with you the actions the board has taken.
First, after discussions with President Tony Waldrop, the executive committee has agreed to allow President Waldrop to utilize his accrued vacation time for the remainder of his time with USA, effective as of today and until his retirement on July 1. President Waldrop has guided the University of South Alabama through a tremendous period of growth and improvement in academics, healthcare, student life and athletics, and he has the gratitude of the Board for all that he has done to enhance the teaching, research and service missions of the University.
Second, the executive committee has asked Executive Vice President John Smith to serve as acting president, effective immediately. Dr. Smith has been with USA since 2008, serving initially as vice president for student affairs and later as special assistant to the president. The Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Smith as acting president in 2013, a position he held until Dr. Waldrop was named president in 2014. Dr. Smith was named executive vice president in 2014.
Also this week, the executive committee approved the recommendation of the presidential search committee to engage the services of R. William Funk and Associates, a national search firm with an outstanding record of successful presidential placements, to assist with the president search. You will be hearing more about the search process in the near future, and the entire University community will be provided opportunities to give feedback on the finalist candidates.
Finally, the executive committee this week approved the charge to the presidential search committee and the proposal from the search firm, which you can read on the Board of Trustees website. In particular, the role of the search committee includes the responsibility to communicate timely news about the structure, timing, process, and progress of the search to the University community.
The Board of Trustees is confident that the work of the search committee, along with USA’s reputation and standing as a first-class institution of higher education and healthcare, will result in a very strong pool of interested candidates from which the next president of the University will be selected. We will continue to communicate with the University community throughout the search process.
Jimmy Shumock, Chair pro tempore
USA Board of Trustees