Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting Recruits Chancellor for Southern Arkansas University Tech

January 12, 2024 – Macon, GA-based Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting has assisted in the recruitment of Jerry W. Thomas as the new chancellor of Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech). Jennifer Barfield, executive vice president, led the assignment. “We are extremely pleased that Dr. Thomas will be our new chancellor at SAU Tech,” said David Rankin, president emeritus. “His impressive accomplishments and background have prepared him well for this outstanding leadership opportunity.”

With a track record of leadership and dedication to higher education for the past 29 years, Dr. Thomas most recently served as vice president for academic affairs at National Park College (NPC). Before beginning this academic role this past April, he served as the vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at NPC since 2016.  Under his leadership, NPC transitioned to a residential campus, experienced increased enrollment, and implemented an athletic program. Dr. Thomas also served as the assistant vice president for student affairs at Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, NJ. During this time, he led the college’s learner support center, a one-stop enrollment service center, to national recognition for exemplary student service. Dr. Thomas’ higher education career was launched at Southern Arkansas University, where he served from 1993 to 2013 in various student affairs positions and as an adjunct history professor. During his time at SAU, specific positions of notable interest for Thomas included serving as a peer counselor, peer tutor coordinator and later director of the TRIO Upward Bound program.

Along with his passion for engaging in student success initiatives and educational leadership experiences, Dr. Thomas has been active in civic and community engagement activities. He has served on non-profit boards in his community, including the Hot Springs Metro Partnership board, the YMCA, and the United Way of the Ouachitas. He is a trustee of the Roanoke Baptist Church in Hot Springs and past president of the Hot Springs, Arkadelphia, and Malvern alumni chapter of Kappa Psi Fraternity.

“I’m incredibly excited to assume the role of chancellor at SAU Tech,” said Dr. Thomas. “I look forward to becoming a part of the SAU Tech community and building upon the ongoing success of expanding access and opportunities for students. My goal is to support them every step of the way as they pursue their educational journey. Education transformed my own life, and I’m deeply committed to ensuring that these opportunities are available to students who aspire to create better lives for themselves.”

Related: Myers McRae Assists the University of West Georgia in Provost Search

Founded in 1968, Southern Arkansas University Tech is a two-year, public college in Camden, AR. The college provides technical and transfer degrees. It also operates the Arkansas Fire Training and Arkansas Environmental Training Academies. SAU Tech offers online degrees, business and industry training, and adult education. The university also offers NCAA athletics (basketball, softball, baseball), cheer, choir, a scholars program, and student housing.

Respected Recruiters

Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting serves colleges, universities, independent schools, and other not-for-profit institutions. Nearly all of its search professionals have a minimum of 20 years of experience in higher education. The majority of the firm’s searches have been for presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans, and other senior academic and administrative leaders. Myers McRae recently placed the provost and vice president for academic and student affairs at East Georgia State College, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Savannah State University, and the vice president for business and financial services and chief business officer for the University of West Georgia, among others.

Myers McRae Tapped by Dakota Wesleyan University to Lead Provost Search
Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting has been retained by Dakota Wesleyan University to lead in its search for a new provost. Kenny Daugherty, the search firm’s president, is leading the assignment, along with Darrel Colson, senior consultant. The provost leads the university’s efforts in academic and student affairs, supporting faculty and staff who offer students a transformative learning experience while overseeing the three colleges, the academic support programs, student life, and campus ministry. Reporting to the president and serving on the president’s cabinet, the provost will work collaboratively with the university’s many constituencies, including the board of trustees, the faculty, and other university leaders to realize the institution’s strategic goals of cultivating an environment for learning and growth, strengthening learner success, responsibly optimizing and diversifying the student body, and reinforcing university foundations.

Emily Myers has led Myers McRae since 2008. As the firm’s executive officer, she has broadened the firm’s scope and modernized processes, emphasizing responsiveness, timeliness, effectiveness, and affordability. While utilizing new technology in the executive search process, Ms. Myers said she remains committed to the firm having person-to-person connections with candidates and that clients stay at the center of every search.

Known for her leadership expertise and commitment to excellence, Ms. Myers brings to the firm’s searches her extensive first-hand knowledge and experience in higher education administration. For most of her career, she served as senior vice president of university advancement and external affairs at Mercer University.

Ms. Barfield works directly with colleges and universities on the recruitment and evaluation of candidates to fulfill their search needs. She brings more than 20 years of experience in education in fundraising, public relations, program development, strategic planning, and alumni and donor relations to our clients. Her career experience ranges from stints at a private college-preparatory school, First Presbyterian School; a private university, Mercer University; and a state university, Middle Georgia State University.

Related: Myers McRae Assists Pfeiffer University with Provost Search

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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