Less than five months before current University of South Carolina Beaufort chancellor Jane Upshaw retires, the school is one step closer to finding only its second leader to hold the position.
A search committee formed in November -- after Upshaw announced her retirement in September -- has identified 12 people it will interview in coming weeks. Those candidates were whittled down from more than 100 who applied for the top spot, said vice chancellor for advancement Lynn McGee.
"It took quite a while to narrow those down, but that's what these kinds of committees do," McGee said. "We were very encouraged by the interest as we originally had hoped for and thought we might get 50 to 60 nominees."
To narrow it down, the committee identified those it felt were most qualified and then evaluated how well they would fit with USCB and it's future, committee director Charles Spirrison said.
Although he could not specifically say what factors and characteristics were considered, several students and officials have said the university needs someone who can build on USCB's growth in the last decade.
Upshaw has been chancellor since 2002. During that tenure, she has seen the college grow into a university offering four-year baccalaureate degrees. She also oversaw the opening of the Hilton Head Gateway campus off U.S. 278 and the addition of sports to the school, including the unveiling of the Sand Shark mascot.
The ideal candidate must have a vision for where the school could go, USCB student government president Raechel Blakeney has said.. He or she must also be willing to take risks and push the limits to get there, said Blakeney, who serves as the student representative on the search committee.
The 12 hold a variety of leadership positions in institutions of higher education, Spirrison said.
They will be interviewed off campus.
The committee then will select four finalists to bring to campus -- likely in May -- for another round of interviews and to meet with staff, students and the community, according to Spirrison, a department chair at USCB.
Following the campus visits, the committee will make it recommendations to USC President Harris Pastides, who will make the final decision.
While there is no specific deadline to announce the decision, McGee said she hopes an announcement will be made in June.
Spirrison said he is confident the committee will find the right person to take the reins.
"Chancellor Upshaw definitely is a tough act to follow, but she is leaving us in a good place," he has said. "The next chancellor will have to take advantage of our unique position."
- USCB students, staff want new chancellor to take risks like Upshaw, November 16, 2014
- USCB chancellor search committee announced, November 7, 2014
- USCB Chancellor Jane Upshaw announces retirement, September 26, 2014