Wichita State University could have a new president within the next few months.
A search committee charged with finding WSU’s next leader interviewed candidates via Zoom this week and plans to send a list of finalists to the Kansas Board of Regents for consideration, said Dan Peare, chairman of the committee.
Peare said the committee narrowed a list of more than 50 candidates to 10 semifinalists. Members held virtual interviews with five candidates Tuesday and five Wednesday, he said. They plan to meet as a group Friday to discuss the candidates and will likely forward three or four names to the Regents, he said.
Peare, an attorney at Hinkle Law Firm who also heads the WSU Foundation, did not name the candidates or offer any details about them.
The Board of Regents voted in November to conduct a closed search, which means candidates’ names will not be released to the public and finalists will not meet with anyone outside of the search committee.
The 22-member committee includes student, faculty, alumni and community representatives.
Peare said he was impressed by the overall quality of the candidates.
“Of the 10 we interviewed, a strong majority of those will be president of some university,” he said. “They’ve all been very strong, highly qualified candidates.”
He said the group opted to interview candidates virtually because of challenges with travel and in-person gatherings during the pandemic. Each of the interviews was about 75 minutes, he said.
“We were able to read body language and expressions and all of that -- really get a good overall look” at the candidates, Peare said.
The new president will replace Jay Golden, who served less than a year before resigning suddenly last September. The reason for his resignation is unknown.
In a presidential profile document presented to the Regents, the committee said it is “seeking a president who will take the urban-based research university to the next level, in an ever-changing educational landscape.”
Peare said the Regents could discuss the WSU presidency during their May meeting and name a new president shortly after that.
The new president is expected to take office officially by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.