The Utah State Board of Regents announced Monday that President Lisa Rossbacher is one of four finalists being considered for the next president of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, three hours south of Salt Lake City.
The 21-member Presidential Search Committee conducted a national search with 70 potential candidates, who went through a lengthy screening process for the position that was posted at the end of June, according to Utah State Board of Regents spokeswoman Pamela Silberman.
Silberman said there was a “great pool of applicants,” but the search committee was “incredibly impressed” with how Rossbacher has increased enrollment at SPSU while maintaining a “high academic caliber.”
“We are really looking for someone who can take SUU to the next level,” Silberman said.
Southern Utah University was founded in 1897 and “evolved from a teacher training institution to now become Utah’s designated liberal arts and sciences university,” according to the school’s website www.suu.edu.
The finalists will meet Thursday with various groups representing faculty, staff, students, and administration on the SUU campus. On Friday, the Utah State Board of Regents will interview the finalists in a closed session, with a possible decision later that afternoon, Silberman said.
For the 2011-12 school year, the salary for the president of Southern Utah University was about $190,000, Silberman said.
Silberman said the date for the new president depends on who is selected. For instance, for a candidate outside of Utah, like Rossbacher, the start date could be this summer.
For an internal candidate, the start date could be soon, Silberman said. Bradley Cook, the provost and executive vice president of Southern Utah University since 2009, is also a finalist.
Rossbacher directed all questions to the Utah State Board of Regents and spokespersons for SPSU said the possible move by Rossbacher is a personal matter.
Rossbacher, who holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in geological sciences from Princeton University, has led SPSU since 1998.
In April of 2012, Rossbacher went down a similar path when she was a finalist for a position with Wichita State in Kansas.
In March 2010, she withdrew her name for the presidency of the University of Alaska after visiting the school. In 2009, she was passed over for the top job at New Mexico State University after visiting its Las Cruces campus.
On her application to SUU, Rossbacher highlighted her time as the University of Georgia System’s interim vice chancellor and chief academic officer in 2007.
The University of Georgia System is formulating a plan to merge SPSU with KSU as part of a continuing effort to reduce administrative costs and relieve some of the burden on state funding of higher education.
Both schools will operate under the Kennesaw State University name, with current KSU President Dan Papp leading the merged institution.