UA President Bobbitt: Both finalists withdraw from UAMS chancellor search | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

UA President Bobbitt: Both finalists withdraw from UAMS chancellor search

Posted By on Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 3:32 PM

click to enlarge UAMS: Search renewed for new chancellor.
  • UAMS: Search renewed for new chancellor.

Looks like the search for a chancellor of UAMS to succeed the retiring Dan Rahn must start anew. Faculty has just received this from University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt:

Dear UAMS Campus Community,

From the outset of our search to find the next chancellor for UAMS, I said we will work as long as it takes to find the very best person to provide outstanding leadership and vision for our state’s health sciences university. After a deliberative process, we identified two leading candidates, both native Arkansans, that we believed had the potential to fill that role. I spoke with both candidates following their recent visits to Arkansas and their return to their respective universities. After careful reflection, both have chosen to withdraw from consideration.

As with any senior leadership search, our task comes down to finding an individual whose experience, vision and passion align with the needs of the institution and state. While I’m disappointed in the short term that we have not yet found the right person to lead UAMS, I’m not discouraged at all. Through this process, we’ve seen that the entire UAMS campus community is engaged and eager to participate and help move the institution forward in a positive way. Most importantly, we’ve seen that the opportunity to lead an institution that serves a critical statewide mission in health care education, treatment and research is attractive to leaders in academic medicine from across the country. I have no doubt that staying the course with a deliberative, participatory process will lead us to the right person to serve as our next chancellor. Our challenges at UAMS are no different than other academic health sciences centers across the country, and our advantages of statewide mission and impact set us apart in the minds of candidates who relish such an opportunity.

I’m grateful to the two finalists for taking the time to look at this opportunity. I’m also thankful for the hard work of our search committee chaired by Dr. Jeannette Shorey. Dr. Shorey and her group have worked tirelessly on this search and I know they will continue that work moving forward. Additionally, I’m thankful to Dr. Stephanie Gardner, who has agreed to continue serving as interim chancellor during our extended search. UAMS is in very capable hands under the leadership of Dr. Gardner and the outstanding team of senior leaders in place. As we move forward, we will continue to work with our consultants from Isaacson Miller to identify the top candidates from across the country. We will keep you posted on news regarding the search in the coming weeks.

Thank you all for your commitment to UAMS and your service to the people of Arkansas. UAMS is a vital member of the University of Arkansas System and critical resource for the entire state. In time, we will find an outstanding chancellor to lead it for the foreseeable future.

Thank you.


Donald R. Bobbitt
President, University of Arkansas System
The finalists, both with Arkansas ties, were: Dr. A. Wesley Burks, dean of the school of medicine at the University of North Carolina, and Dr. Danny Jacobs, executive vice president of the University of Texas School of Medicine's Galveston branch.

More to ask and know. Did the finalists perceive problems here? Money is tight and getting tighter. The future of the Medicaid expansion is uncertain. The legislature is not kindly disposed to higher education. Was any of this a factor? And if they were topnotch candidates, as they appeared to be, might North Carolina and Texas be better eqjuipped to make it worth their while to stay put?

Stephanie Gardner is serving as interim chancellor since Rahn's retirement July 31.

In a subsequent news release, Bobbitt elaborated:

"As with any senior leadership search, our task comes down to finding an individual whose experience, vision and passion align with the needs of the institution and state," Bobbitt said. "While I’m disappointed in the short term that we have not yet found the right person to lead UAMS, I’m not discouraged. I have no doubt that staying the course with a deliberative, participatory process will lead us to the right person to serve as our next chancellor. Our challenges at UAMS are no different than other academic health sciences centers across the country, and our advantages of statewide mission and impact set us apart in the minds of candidates who relish such an opportunity."

Bobbitt said the campus search committee, along with the help of Isaacson Miller, a contracted national search firm, are in a good position to continue finding interested candidates from across the country and have already begun the process. 

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