The search for a leader to replace Augusta State University President William Bloodworth when he steps down in May has not yet been launched, according to University System of Georgia spokesman John Millsaps.
In August, Bloodworth announced his plans to leave the presidency at the end of this academic year to return to teaching. He said he wanted to give the university plenty of time to conduct a search so that there would be a smooth transition between presidents and no need for an interim.
Millsaps said it is unclear when the university system will begin a search for ASU because there are seven schools in the state that are also waiting to fill presidential vacancies.
“We’ve got a number of searches under way right now, and we have to be careful how we manage those because you want to do the search the right way,” Millsaps said. “You can’t have too many going on at one time.”
If a new president is not chosen by the end of this academic year, Bloodworth said, he would be willing to postpone his departure so the school doesn’t have to be in limbo.
“It’s a complicated process,” Bloodworth said. “It’s better for the school to have one change,” instead of going through an interim president, Bloodworth said.
TO BEGIN THE process, University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby must appoint a campus search committee at ASU, consisting of student representatives, faculty, staff, community members and alumni.
The campus committee sometimes meets with an outside search firm to narrow down what the university is looking for – “What does the (school) feel the next president should be focusing on, what are you looking for, what kind of president do they want?” Millsaps said.
After the committee gathers a candidate pool, the school representatives forward a list of unranked candidates to the Board of Regents, which then narrows down the field.
“They have some pretty wide parameters,” Millsaps said. “They can add someone, or they can go back to the campus committee and say ‘We think we need to enlarge this pool.’ The process needs to get the best candidates.”
A search has to be done at the school’s own pace, and Millsaps said there is no standard timetable for how long searches should take.
It’s not uncommon for interim presidents to serve for months or a year at a time, which occurred at Gordon College in Barnesville when the school took on an interim president in August 2010 and appointed a permanent leader only this month.
In his State of the University address in August, Bloodworth said he hoped the university will find a replacement quickly.
WHEN HE RETIRES, Bloodworth will have completed his 19th year as president at ASU. In January 2013, he will become a professor of English and American Studies at the university.
Bloodworth is credited with advancing ASU in technology and infrastructure and transforming it from a commuter school to one with student housing that is expanding.
In his time at ASU, Bloodworth has overseen $103 million in construction projects and led the expansion of the campus with the new $27 million academic building planned for Damascus Road.
In the end, though, Bloodworth said he wants to return to where he said he feels he can make the biggest impact on young lives: teaching at the front of the classroom.
“I love to teach, but I also love being president,” Bloodworth said. “Either way I’ll be doing something I love.”