September 21, 2023 – Macon, GA-based Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting has been chosen to help Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech) find its next chancellor. Jennifer Barfield, executive vice president, is spearheading the assignment.
SAU Tech’s next chancellor will be expected to be an innovative, inspirational, and visionary leader committed to academic excellence and student success, said Myers McRae. “The chancellor should provide a collaborative work environment for faculty and staff to achieve goals that best lead to positive student outcomes,” said the search firm. “The chancellor should communicate with and respond to local business and industry leaders to develop programs that meet workforce development demands, promote and involve Tech in the community, and collaborate with external stakeholders to ensure fulfillment of Tech’s mission and overall success.”
Major responsibilities of the role include promotion of SAU Tech and the SAU System and engagement in resource development and fundraising (both private and grant), and service leadership for the community; participation in economic development and business/industry recruitment efforts and outreach to community and business industry to meet training and workforce development requirements of the region; and ensuring that campus enrollment, completion, retention, and student success meet the campus and system-level metrics established for the college.
Informing and executing strategic initiatives of the college will be critical to this role. The chancellor must communicate and create a culture of accountability and empowerment relative to established metrics for enrollment, completion, retention, and student success to campus-level leaders. He or she must also ensure the assessment of campus facility/space needs and investigation of alternative space solutions in alignment with the overall campus vision, key areas of focus (enrollment, completion, retention, student success), and associated metrics.
Candidates must have an earned doctorate with at least five years of successful experience in higher education or a related field, said the search firm. Demonstrated success in administration of finances, budget, facilities, and personnel is also required. SAU Tech prefers that prospects have experience with the Higher Learning Commission (or other regional accreditation agencies). Experience in senior leadership position would also be beneficial.
Proficiency in oral and written communication and excellent interpersonal skills are expected for this role. Candidates should also have the ability to lead strategic planning processes, academic, and student life, program development, assessment, and recruitment.
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 NJCAA athletics (basketball, softball, baseball), cheer, choir, a scholars program, and student housing.
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.
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.
A Previous Placement
Earlier this year, Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting assisted in recruiting Koffi C. Akakpo as president of Kentucky State University (KSU), a historically black college and university. Kenny Daugherty, the search firm’s president, led the assignment.
University officials noted that Dr. Akakpo quickly rose to the top of the candidate application pool, and his life’s work, 16 years in leadership roles in higher education with a proven record of success in strong fiscal accountability, student-first philosophy, and strategic planning. He joined KSU from Bluegrass Community and Technical College, central Kentucky’s largest comprehensive public two-year college, serving over 15,000 college credit students annually across multiple campuses and via online classes.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media