December 2, 2005

Review Panels to Interview Presidential Candidate

"...Three panels--faculty/staff, student, and alumni/friends--will meet with the first candidate identified by the search committee for consideration..."

Samford University campusA series of constituent reference panels are being convened Dec. 6 to interview a candidate for the Samford University presidency.

Three panels--faculty/staff, student, and alumni/friends--will meet with Dr. Andrew Westmoreland, who currently is president of Ouachita Baptist University. Westmoreland also will meet with key University leadership during his visit to campus.

The panels, which will review any candidate brought forth by the search committee, are a step in the search process approved by the University's board of trustees in April and represent "the next step," said presidential search committee co-chair Albert Brewer. "The feedback from these panels is vital to the overall search process."

The list of panel members has not been released, Brewer said, because individuals invited to be panel members received an invitation to serve on Nov. 30 and have until Dec. 2 to respond. Panel members will be asked to respect the confidentiality of the review process and the candidate since this still is a preliminary step in the overall search process, he added. Panel members will receive background information on Westmoreland prior to the Dec. 6 sessions.

Panel members "will be encouraged to ask any question" of Westmoreland and provide "any response they feel is appropriate" to the search committee about what they learn in the sessions, according to PSC co-chair Hobart Grooms.

"This is a chance for these constituency representatives and leadership groups to get to know this particular candidate and to be part of the review process," Grooms said. "It also is a time for a candidate to better understand Samford and its constituents."

Panel members will have the opportunity to submit individual feedback to the search committee, but the panels will not take any group vote, Brewer said.

The search committee will determine next steps after receiving feedback from the Dec. 6 sessions. Brewer emphasized that any candidate recommendation must be approved by the University's board of trustees.

The 17-member search committee has been meeting since May and had announced earlier in November that it was narrowing the list of 139 nominations and applications it had received. The committee is seeking a replacement for current Samford President Thomas E. Corts who has announced plans to retire at the end of the 2005-06 academic year.

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