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SIU chancellor search down to four candidates

Submitted by Carbondale Times on

Dustin Duncan
Carbondale Times


The search for the next Southern Illinois University chancellor on the Carbondale campus has been narrowed down to four, according to a news release by the university. 

Current Interim SIU Chancellor Brad Colwell is one of the four candidates, along with J.S. Elwell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, George Hynd, president of Oakland University in Michigan and Carl Pinkert, vice president for research and economic development the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

The candidates will visit campus for multi-day interviews beginning April 10. Each candidate will participate in public forums for students, faculty, staff and community members. 

All candidates will have open forums at 8:45 a.m. in the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library. The candidates will all be in Carbondale for three days, according to SIU. 

Elwell will kick things off at 8:45 a.m., on Tuesday, April 11. Hynd will be on campus on Wednesday, April 19. Colwell will be available on Tuesday, April 25, and Pinkert will be available on April 27. 

The university said the finalists were identified following a national search that attracted 31 applicants and nominees. A 20-member search committee made up of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members recommended finalists 

to Dunn. 

“All of the finalists bring significant academic and administrative experience to the table,” Dunn said. “They also understand the challenges as well as the opportunities we face at SIU Carbondale.

“We are looking for a strong leader and effective manager who is not afraid to tackle tough issues and who can work collaboratively on and off campus to shape a shared vision for the university’s future.” 

J.S. Elwell

Elwell is a SIU alumnus, currently a professor of theater and speech, in addition to serving as dean at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga since 2012. 

Previously, he was provost and special assistant to the chancellor for strategic initiatives at Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama. He was also the founding dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at East Carolina University in North Carolina, chair of the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Nebraska, chair of the Department of Theatre at Marshall University in West Virginia, and director of theater at Mississippi State University.

Productions of his plays have been featured in New York and regional venues and he has been active in professional organizations and as a producer and director.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from California State University, Bakersfield; a master’s degree in communication/theatre from the University of Southwestern Louisiana; and a doctoral degree in speech communication/theater from SIU Carbondale.

Elwell is also a finalist to fill the soon-to-be-vacant president position at Eastern New Mexico University, according to the university’s website. Elwell is listed as visiting the campus from April 3 through 7 and the university’s board will announce its decision on April 17. 

George Hynd

Hynd has been president of Oakland University, where he also serves as a professor of psychology, since 2014. 

His previous roles include serving as provost and executive vice president of academic affairs at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, senior vice provost and dean and director of the Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education at Arizona State University, dean of the College of Education at Purdue University in Indiana, and associate dean for research and external affairs in the College of Education, director of the School of Professional Studies and chair of the Division for the Education of Exceptional Children at the University of Georgia.

Working in the field of clinical child neuropsychology, Hynd has written, co-authored and edited 11 books as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from Pepperdine University in California and a doctoral degree in education from the University of Northern Colorado.

According to the Detriot Free Press, Oakland University announced in September 2016 that it would not be renew Hynd’s contract. He contract expires on Aug. 15 of this year. 

Oakland University Board Chairman Richard DeVore told the Free Press in September that Hynd was exactly the transition leader the school needed at the helm these past few years. He also said it was not a termination with cause. 

Brad Colwell 

In addition to serving as interim chancellor since 2015, Colwell is a professor in the university’s Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education.

Before coming to SIU, he served as dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He was also associate dean for academic and student affairs in the College of Education and Human Services and chairman and director of graduate studies for the Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education at SIU. He has also worked as an attorney at Miller, Tracy, Braun & Wilson, Ltd., in Monticello.

Colwell’s academic focus is on legal, policy and school management issues, and he has published more than 50 papers and nearly 60 articles, book chapters and monographs. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Anderson University in Indiana and a law degree as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in educational administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Colwell is also in the middle of attempting to facilitate $30 million worth of reductions set forth by Dunn. 

Carl Pinkert

Pinkert is also an SIU alumnus, and has been the vice president and professor of biological sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham since 2013. 

Previously, he was associate vice president for research, interim head of the Department of Pathobiology and associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University in Alabama. 

He has also held academic roles and directed research units at the University of Rochester, University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Missouri.

Pinkert has been principal or co-investigator on grant-funded projects that received more than $31 million in external support. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in animal science from SIU, and a doctoral degree in animal science/reproductive physiology from the University of Georgia.

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